Should I stay or should I go?
I have been married to my husband for two years and together for six. We have two wonderful children, 6 and 2.
Recently, I have found myself at a crossroad. Until now, I’ve always thought my husband was perfect, I had flaws and I was lucky he accepted me how I was. I admire him. He’s smart, sociable, a very hard worker and has a lovely nature. However, the crossroad has brought me to begin to believe that perhaps I am being short changed? Perhaps he doesn’t love me as much as I had once thought?
His good qualities are he is an AMAZING father, he’s always supported my regular new career ideas, he cleans the house, he compliments me regularly, he works hard for our family and he’s allowed me to have a healthy social life.
The downside is for the last 6 years; our sex life has been non-existence. I have tried every and been in every state - from calm communication, offering understanding to in complete tears asking why I am not enough. His excuses vary from tiredness to sickness to too much pressure. In the end I just gave up and accepted this.
In the last month, he has started his effort again but this only came once I seriously threatened divorce. Now, we have been intimate a few times but he rarely will finish and stop halfway again from tiredness, sickness or heat. I’m not sure if this is normal?
The other issues I have found is he has stopped caring if I am upset. I’ve woken in the night from bad sleep paralysis and he has been angry with me for waking him to tell him that I was terrified from this. Now when I am upset about things, he is not very comforting but gets annoyed at me instead.
He doesn’t do anything romantic for me. He really doesn’t like effort. We didn’t do anything for our Wedding Anniversary. He hasn’t done anything for me on my birthdays or any occasions. He will get me a gift for these occasions but again, with little effort involved. He will never plan anything. For him, I have arranged surprised parties (flying over his best friend), dinners at restaurants that he wouldn’t usually go to and always tried to get him presents he will love.
He constantly runs my family down, which in his defense are odd and intense. But he’s even sometimes rude to them. My parents come to stay each Christmas (for 2 weeks) and he hates it. He gets mad at me saying that I put them before him because I allow them to stay for ‘his holidays’. My dad has been battling Cancer and I do not have it in my heart to tell him he can’t come when I know how much he looks forward to it. On the contrary he builds his family up and has said to me on occasions “I don’t know if it’s just that my family are that amazing or if your family are that shit”. It hurts and he knows it. His family is better, they’re a lot more onto it and they are better with the kids. But it still doesn’t feel nice.
His boss often stays with us when we are in town and uses our children’s bed (they then sleep with us). He knows I don’t particularly like his boss because he doesn’t bother to talk to me at all in the house, but I am always pleasant, I don’t complain about him staying like he does my family at Xmas. I know my husband admires his boss immensely, so when he’s staying with us, I often will go to a different room to give them space and time.
When I tell him how I feel (and I usually do this calmly and reasonably) he takes it as a full attack and turns it around to me being demanding, needy and I end up feeling like it’s my fault and he’s right.
But as I have said, he’s full of compliments. He often tells me he loves me and I’m beautiful. He will make my favourite foods occasionally and clean the house. All is well with us, as long as I don’t complain.
I am not a demanding person and I don’t expect a lot. I just want to feel valued and loved.
We have recently discussed this deeply and he has said that he is going to make the effort and to give him another chance. The issue is now, I don’t know if I love him anymore? Apart of me wants to leave but I’m worried about hurting my children. I don’t know what to do.
Professional counseling could be the go and sometimes it doesn't get you back together but it always shows you if your marriage can be repaired with a mutual effort. You both need to have the will to attend counseling and both need to have the need and the want to work through your marriage issues. Two people make a marriage but two people also contribute to wrecking it, just as the same two can repair it, if they have the will to do so.
Your husband has no respect for you when he lays all the blame at your feet and criticizes you and your family. His actions and words are basically just contributing to the distance between yourselves, rather than communicating with you in a way that leaves you feeling respected, valued and loved as you state you need to be. What you should understand is that you deserve to be valued and your daily and ongoing contributions to your marriage need to be respected by your husband. His criticism is selfish and self centred to say the least.
You worry about your kids, but you need to realize that your own emotional health and your general well being is suffering and your kids need you to be happy and healthy. Kids are always the first to sense when there's ongoing tension between Mum and Dad.
Your instinct is talking to you when you state that you don't know if you love your husband anymore. It's your first 'heads up' that all's not well. It's your 'inside radar' and you need to listen to it.
I don't know what the answer is but I think you're a wonderful person and your husband is too.
I think staying for the children is important, like you said.
I think your telling him you were going to divorce his ass if he didn't shape up did more good than 10 therapists combined, and got his ass in better shape.
I think 2 weeks your parents staying at your house for the holidays is about 2 weeks too long.
Cut it down to one week, then cut it down to 2 or 3 days. I wouldn't want to spend my Christmas vacation spent on putting on an act that everything was great with company in the house, when all I would want to do is get away from everybody for 2 weeks, and spend time with the children and the spouse.
That is way too much, so you are ignoring what he is saying, also. That is torture, and you are passing it off as his being unreasonable.
You cold also lighten up. Wait until the morning to tell him about your sleep situation. I know it must be terrifying to have the condition you said you had, but maybe wait until the morning to tell him. I used to have panic attacks in the night.
I think I would tell my wife, she would just mumble something and go back to sleep. I know you want to tell someone, I think I did, too. Those type of things are terrifying.
I know the sex thing could be frustrating.
Look on the net for health food sex tablets. Get the names of 2 or 3 and buy them at your health food store, or on the net, if they are legit.
I know Vitamin E helped me, and is listed on the net as that.
But I think you two are both wonderful. You are both as perfect as you can get, don't mess it up. I think people would kill to have just one trait you say you and your husband have.
ConfusedNZ, I don't care if you'd been together for TEN years before marrying. Cohabitation often proves to be a false or too artificial trial run, FAR too different from cohabiting as marrieds. Whole different ballgame... especially at times like this. As you've recently been experiencing. Not only that, the two year mark is notorious for a second power struggle phase or the tail end or re-do of the unfinished first. If you had time to trawl through the archives, you'd see.
You say you want to feel valued and loved. But you are - I agree wholeheartedly with PJ on that score: you have significant proof of that, not least via the fact he CLEANS THE HOUSE. Oh, trust me - feminist movement, scheminist schmovement - that's still shamefully rare. In fact, other than Mr Soulmate (who's French thus stereotypically should be the least likely candidate) and a few others, like the truly lovely and loving owner of this forum, I don't know *any* men who self-initiatingly pitch in so happily and regularly like that with "women's work" (yawn).
Note he's been going for the jugular purely and solely on the female-friendly romantic flourishes and sentimentalisms side? ...birthdays, anniversaries, parents staying (yours), all the things that mean a lot to women but by whatever degree either less or diddly-squat to most men. 'Disposables'. The exception - or perhaps not if you're the type of woman that absolutely loves and needs sex (which you do strike as) - is, providing proof in-application that you're desired and in their good books. Actions! This whole gamut of behaviour is so characteristic of resentment, none more so than an inability to feel like having sex in the first place and then get turned on or *stay* turned on (despite Little Devil thoughts interrupting). And resentment is THE number 1 bedroom blocker.
What's he long-term, drip-drip resentful about? Could it be the 'over-thinker'-male-typical, Black & White attitude that goes: "You bend over backwards for people who traditionally always do or have maltreated you, at the expense of someone who worships and wants to cherish you - well, what does THAT tell me?!". Answer: a lot less than he's been imagining when forgetting to take into account how much more tolerant and forgiving women tend to be. (Typical overlooking the smaller details, men's traditional downfall, I find.)
Because he doesn't like people who mistreat what's his (you) - a new pack detriment - he (I suspect, for years) has wanted you to surreptitiously, bit-by-bit ditch your old pack for the new (him and the kidlets), and hasn't re-evaluated using broad-minded reasonableness... probably because, to be fair, any spouse would expect the umbilicus to wither appropriately once a new and different/better umbilicus had been firmly established... saying goodbye to the old and welcoming the new. You should just tell them to "do one!" and know which side your bread is buttered on, doncha know, would be his ideal. His boss, on the other hand, is the one who makes it possible for him to bring home the bacon - a benefit - ergo, he is decidedly Friend, your family more Foe. So I would now guess you've done a LOT of venting about them to him over the years, right? For an action man, venting is 'a waste of time and energy'.
So now you're caught in a Catch 22: You don't feel confident enough to take befitting, age/stage-appropriate steps back from your 'sub-standard', original 'support network' because you don't feel hubster is yours forever-Amen (whereas at least they're that), whilst HE can't let go enough to in the first place GIVE you those signs you're safe due likewise to not feeling you're his forever-Amen.
Emotionally a bit dense irrespective, and *sacrificing* showing you his respect for you in favour of needing to express/discharge resentment (because no man that disrespects a woman does "her" hoovering et al, no way, Jose), he's clearly a generous-hearted guy whose bonding mechanisms get accessed increasingly as time marches on, through his knickers - just like you - with big-big love to give...but which would require heart-abandonment on your part.
You two don't *need* counselling, in my estimation (albeit could benefit if you did). If anything, you're both trying TOO hard. E.g., if you try to force him into giving out, he'll only go and discharge that resentment via an alternative avenue... as you see: ceasing to *LET ON* how much he cares when you cry (whereas, he does reveal *agitation* - Scooby clue). And if he tries to emotionally coerce you via deprivation (i.e. *not fighting* the effects of resentment when in the No Resentments zone) to create distance from your original welfare detrimenters, you're going to end up thinking you want a divorce when you don't really... just want and need a "holiday" from all the crap.
So I can see what he's trying to achieve/encourage to naturally happen (be your protector-come-hero who saved you from the torture tower, "swoon-swoon"), but his way of going about it is what you call, Own Worst Enemy. (...which *isn't* so rare. ;-p)
Now, then - who's going to be the grown-up and break that vicious cycle (and take the smug credit for it for decades to come)? And, let's completely disregard that gumph about '[IN PART] don't know if I love him anymore', given the counter-proof in the form your concrete action of posting on here and remembering delayed reactivity plus positive feelings still swamped by negative. Who traditionally is the boss in that side-arena - you or him? You're probably going to have to give that some thought, considering you obviously both tend to swap male-female roles as a matter of relationship-customisations course.
And, whilst I'm at it, you could even say 'I hate your guts, pugly!' reasonably and quietly but, to an emotional, normally passionate type of actions-over-words spotter (man), it still doesn't change the meaning under extrapolations when, irrespective, bottom-line - there *IS* no competition between a boss who's so decent he becomes equally a friend, and a birth pack that by your own hinted admissions has systematically treated you unfairly and/or taken their moodies out on you like you're some handy, family-issues scapegoat. I mean - IS THERE?
I imagine you'll agree with that take if and when you finally can be allowed to feel how Ship Number 2 is by far a much safer, securer, much longer-lasting, reliable, life- and happiness-enhancing vessel than Ship Number 1.
I would make the leap if I were you, i.e. following this latest visit, start to bow out ("busy-busy-busy!"). Suck it and see, give him the *floor* to put his "things would be better if" money where his mouth is. After all, if it made no discernible difference thus proved an erroneous or even onerous solution, it wouldn't be irreversible, you could always leap back, right ("phew, busy-ness over!")? That, surely, would be the female-typically canny thing to do?
What do you think?
Somehow I feel that the sex bit is probably the most difficult bit. I know this sounds wrong but have you considered giving him something to help with performance without him knowing. If he's saying that he feels pressured and stuff....
Without his knowing? I'm afraid that would be illegal, BunnyLion.