When I tell him that his laziness has reached a new low and that I've begun to feel hurt and concerned by it, he complains that he's been hurting the more he moves. I try to reassure him that it's because he rarely moves as it is and that if he begins to move more, he'll feel a lot better. It's as though every concern, every pain I express goes through one ear and out the other as fast as I can state them. This is a man that I love very much but I'm finding it increasingly more difficult to keep that love.
He's minimizing your feelings, and replacing them with his. How you feel and what you say isn't valid, but he expects you to immediately and completely understand and validate what he says and feels. Fair enough?
I know what it's like to live with my best friend, and it can be amazing and empty at the same time. When you're married to your best friend, and the marriage part gets stale and less of a priority, it's very easy to rely on the friendship to get you through each day. Especially with kids involved, it's not necessarily a bad strategy. That said, it doesn't sound like this is how you want to live your life much longer. You love him, he loves you. I don't doubt that, and I don't think either of you do either. Which only makes it more painful to admit you're not truly happy.
I believe a break may help you both sort some things out that have gotten in the way of what could be. It's dangerous to pin your todays on hopes for brighter tomorrows. It very rarely works out that way, tbh. That said, I do have hope for you two. All the ingredients seem to be there. What matters now is what you both DO, every minute, every hour, every day. Promises without follow through aren't promises at all. He is making more of an effort, but is he resenting you for asking him to in the first place? Resentment is the absolute worst in a marriage. It will kill any relationship if not dealt with, continually. So do whatever you have to in order to clear any existing resentment, and keep any more from piling on. You already know you have resentment that has built up. If talking to him doesn't breed any real relief, because the actions don't match up, then you have some hard decisions ahead of you. Only you know what you're willing to live with, and without. And asking for a break may be the key to sorting all of that out, without adding any more resentment to the equation. A break can be two people under one roof, giving space wherever possible. It's difficult, but because you have children, it may be the only option. If you have other options (family or friends that one of you could stay with for a short time), I highly recommend you give it a try. Try being JUST friends during the break. Keep communication open, friendly, and honest. Just try not to focus on the other person, but on yourselves. Set time aside to also talk to each other about how you're feeling during the process. Try to be solution centered, checking egos at the door. Whatever comes out of it, you'll both be happier, which should always be the goal.
Sometimes having to consider what life would be like without someone is the only thing that will remind us of why we're with them in the first place. I have a feeling he will miss you much more than you miss him, because, I believe you already miss him. Even when he's right next to you. I know what it's like to feel lonelier when I'm with him, than when I'm actually alone. That doesn't mean there isn't love there. It only means you've lost the part of intimacy and connection that makes us feel fulfilled, wanted, appreciated and loved. You can find it again. It will be hard, but if you can do it, you'll be so much happier for it.
Best of luck. Would love to hear how it's going. Hugs and hope to you both. <3
And when will that be?
Make an appointment ASAP with a licensed family/marriage counselor to help both of you express your feelings in a safe place.
You really do have 5 children to take care of here - you realize this don't you?
And you have "cooked and cleaned and taken care of the home" - while letting him feel that his work was equal to what was happening in your home. This is how we build our own gilded cage (believe me, I know)
Bring a professional to help sort all this out. And good luck!
(I'd also recommend a complete physical for both of you. His weight gain, lack of sex drive and inactivity are of concern)
Whatever you step you take next, make sure you're being true to yourself, or it will only backfire and you don't need that kind of regret. Hold him to his promise, and keep asking for what you need and want from him. Big changes can take time, so this will be a good exercise for your patience. You're right to expect a bit of an emotional roller coaster, regardless of your husband's level of participation and cooperation. I'll keep this threat bookmarked and check it as often as I can. Keep reaching out. It's what we're here for. <3
The later date wasn't yet to be determined but we both agreed on marriage counseling, we talked it over a bit today. I've decided to look into it and whatever appointment I make he agrees to follow through with.
"You really do have 5 children to take care of here - you realize this don't you?" - Yes, I do sometimes feel that way. When it comes to our marriage and behind closed door issues we face in terms of our intimate relationship as well as our communication in terms of how we feel towards one another as of late, it can be extremely frustrating. When it comes to bills, family dilemmas, a death in the family, he truly stands up and is my rock and I am for him. In those struggles, we truly are partners in life and that gives me hope with guidance that we can work through this.
"And you have "cooked and cleaned and taken care of the home" - while letting him feel that his work was equal to what was happening in your home. This is how we build our own gilded cage (believe me, I know)" - I agree, this was something I discovered a little too late and why this sudden complacency has become such a burden.
I appreciate your input and I'm trying very much so to take the right steps to help us regain a strong marriage because we both know it's right around the corner if we work towards it. Coming here and saying what I've needed to say has really helped me come out of my slump and demand action rather than slinking back and allowing the columns to come crashing down around me.
As I said above to SUSIEQQ getting my words out here has helped me to find the confidence to rise up out of my fear and my dejection. Having been met with such kind words of advice, I realized that maybe if I spoke to how I truly feel as a whole rather than how I feel as a part of something else that's lacking from him, or us, maybe he could hear me more clearly. Granted, I've tried to express myself to him before but I don't think I was as honest as I've been here. (sugar coating in fear) We're going to baby step and work for what we know is there we can and have had. We haven't quite yet taken those first and most important steps but knowing we both agree to take them, has lifted a small portion of the weight off my heart, I only hope he also feels this. I'm really grateful for the responses I've had on here because I've been so afraid for where this is going. I'm still afraid but also hopeful again. You'll never understand just how much you've helped.
I also wanted to say that whilst I've been trying to so desperately seek out help and insight to my own marriage it hasn't gone unnoticed that you said you're experiencing much of the same. 25 years with someone and still trying to improve the what's there is amazing, not to downplay how you've felt. I wouldn't wish that on anyone but I really wish you the best of luck. I really hope you find that place you wish to be in.
I have an update that's not so much an update, it's kind of more of me venting. Just a bit to clear my head.
Things have gotten better, for both of us I think. They've gotten better and they've not. I'm going to do my best to explain seeing as I don't really know how. Since getting it out here, I feel more free. I feel like such a weight has been lifted off that even facing the simplest of chores at home has become a very easy task. (even laundry which happens to be my arch nemesis) I seemingly glide through it now whereas I always felt so burdened by taking it all on without the slightest help from anyone. That being said, my husband hasn't tried to do the dishes or anything and we had a slight set back one night where I spent hours cleaning our bedroom after it had gotten out of hand with me not sleeping in there for a while. When he came in ready to go to bed I told him if he was ready to sleep he would have to move the stuff on the bed while I finished cleaning a spot off the floor. He made some sort of retort and said he wouldn't do it. There it was again. I didn't say anything but I grabbed the children's toys off the bed and huffed out, I came back after putting them away and went for the laundry I needed to wash. This time I wasn't angry, I was holding back tears. He saw this but didn't say anything. He just said I love you and tried to say it where I would hear it as I was shutting the door and walking away. The next morning after he'd left for work I went to hang up the laundry I'd done the night before and noticed clothes hanging in my closet that I hadn't put there. (I know this because anything I hang has to face a certain direction and all was wrong, not to mention some of the clothes were his and some where my daughters) It made me smile though. He must have done it after I stormed out. It was done wrong but it was a small gesture that made a world of difference to me. It was a silent apology. Things have been easier since that night but I've discovered something about myself that's a little unsettling.
For the past two nights my husband has tried to make an effort to be available when he gets home and I've barely noticed until he said something because until this point I'd just go about my days not noticing him when he got home because I've grown used to him being so shut out it made it easier for the longest time. (That's something else he's doing, he's voicing how he feels towards my actions or inactions, making it easier for me to contribute to his well being throughout this change) When he pointed it out, I immediately stopped what I was doing and we actually spent some good quality time together. It's going to take some time to adjust to this change for both of us but that's not the part that bothers me. For the last two nights as we lay in bed my husband has tried to make a move on me. Not in an effort kind of way but a genuine "I'm interested" way. He's noticed my change around the home as far as my attitude has slipped away and he's been much more flirty and outgoing. I've been wanting him to show interest in me again for so long but now that it's happening I don't feel much of anything. I don't know why this is because I do love him. It's like something inside of me has shut off and I feel horrid because I'm basically doing to him what he did to me for so long. (not intentionally trying to)
Through most of our marriage even when our sex life was strained, he could make a move and though I'd feel wrong afterwards, I'd give in. Always. I always wanted his touch even when it didn't feel like he deserved it, especially when I'd been shut down by him already that week. Now however, he's reaching out to me in a loving way instead of seeming to only want sex and I can't find it in me to give in. I know my heart wouldn't be in it. I think before it was easy to give in because I knew where we stood even if it was on uneven ground. Now I don't know if I want to give in only to feel betrayed when the same indifference might follow. I'm confused. I'm skeptical. Most of all, I'm afraid. I want to know that we're both in this change we're making for a while before I'm ready to uncage all the emotions I've wanted to feel again for so long.
We are still going to see a counselor and keep working towards a change but in the process I'm still going to come here and attempt to work out where my head is at. I hope you're doing well.
I have sooooo much I want to say. NY phone is dying. I'll get to my laptop asap and let you know what's running through my head and heart. If there are any more developments or concerns to share, please update me. I'll respond fully in just a bit.
I totally understand where you're coming from regarding your response to his advances. I could have written every word of that regarding my own marriage, more than once. Still could, actually. So much of what you're experiencing sounds all too familiar. It's agonizing to have to reevaluate how you really feel about someone you love. First and foremost, give yourself permission to feel however you feel, in any moment. Emotions, attitudes, and desires change constantly. There's a natural ebb and flow, even without the added stress and confusion you're experiencing. So give it a little time, don't be so hard on yourself, and don't try to manufacture desire out of guilt. Let it be what it is. And if that hurts his feelings, try explaining that you just need some time and a lot of reassurance. You haven't had intimacy for awhile now, so it's not going to just snap right back. He should understand that given everything you're trying to work through, he needs to show you, consistently, that he wants and needs to change things, and not just temporarily.
I think your apathy towards him likely stems from distrust. And resentment. That's completely natural. I know you're concerned about what it may mean for your future. Rightfully so. Your current attitude towards him may or may not be a change that sticks. You more fall more and more out of love with him, or you may begin to fall in love all over again. Or something somewhere in between. Only time will tell.
In the past, he's not given you much reason to truly believe you can trust him to follow through. Not just today or tomorrow, but for the rest of your time together. It's hard to relax into wanting someone when you've got a wary eye toward the horizon. So give yourself permission to go at your own pace, and give him as much honesty as necessary, even (or especially) when it's difficult. That's where the real growth and learning is. If it makes you "squirmy", that's a surefire sign you need to address it. If it keeps coming up, it needs to come out.
Your desire for him may come back, or it may not. The only thing you can do (short of ending it) right now, is to keep talking, and giving him chances to show you how he feels and what he wants. And, give yourself permission to respond genuinely, regardless of how it lands on him. Because being disingenuous in any way will only come back to bite you both, and that's a regret you want to avoid when at all possible.
I hope to hear how things are going. Kudos to you for continuing to reach out and speak your heart. It ain't for pansies. <3
You're completely right. Spot on actually with the things that make me "squirmy" I found that spending time with him when he actually vocalized what I was doing that bothered him, easier. Tonight however, I've been spending time to myself as I usually did to keep myself from the loneliness. He complained. He just didn't complain in the way that very literally says "I'm trying and I want to spend time with you." Instead he said "But you just left, I just wanna watch you play this game." (We have a age gap. 14 years. Before I became a mother and wife and I was on my own, I'd love to sit down with my roommates and game. and kick their asses ha.) He's bought me game systems to make me feel like the old me. (The confident me, the unbroken me) I'm just not as interested anymore. I understand that him saying he wants to sit and watch me do something I was fond of before kids, is him saying "I want to spend time with you but also in a way that you're comfortable." It's a little push from him and when we first married it would have worked. It would have sewn up the mess that is now. That's no longer the case. I found myself sitting in front of a screen, doing something that I used to do to relieve stress, but he's sitting with me. I realize it's not the game that's making me uncomfortable, it's his company. This scares me immensely. I feel pressured and uncomfortable in his presence. We aren't in front of our children, we aren't watching a movie in silence... This is real bonding he's trying to make happen. (I know it sounds silly when I say game but this is a way for us to talk even if it's about the game.)
I suddenly feel itchy and I stand up to leave. He's upset and distraught. I know I'm hurting him by walking away but honestly I needed to walk away, to gather my thoughts. Not only do I feel like he's holding on to the woman he fell in love with but he's trying to reanimate her. (I know with all good intentions) I'm just no longer that person. This loneliness, these children have changed me. I haven't even had a chance to find the woman I've become yet and that makes me fidgety. I don't know how to conduct myself because I know that with all that's happened in our marriage and in my life as a mother and a wife, I'm someone new. I just haven't taken the time to figure out who that is without tending to everyone else.
How can I fix my marriage and figure out myself? I'm doing exactly what I've just read from you and I feel like I can breathe a little. I know I'm hurting him in the process but I'm giving myself permission to take a breather. I am completely freaking out because in the realization that my marriage needs some strong work, I also realize, I myself need some work to know myself on a level I once did.
I'm going to go inside to be with him and work my way around the awkwardness. I'm going to try and force myself to remember. Or to create something new. I love him and I know I don't want to live a life without him, I just know we aren't the same people we were when this started. Trying to figure out who we are now while maintaining that marriage is going to be a long road. Thank you for being someone I can turn to.
The more you write, the more our stories are the same. I've struggled, and still do, with everything you just talked about. My husband has been where yours is. I too, regardless of how much I adore him, have found his mere presence grating and (as awful as this sounds), intrusive. I know it scares you to think about what that reaction to being together can mean. But here's what I've found it's meant for me, and my marriage. It means you're growing. You're evolving. And you need space and quiet to do that. Hard enough when you're a wife. Nearly impossible when you're a mother as well. You did the right thing by giving yourself the time you needed to find some peace before lashing out. It's not him that's making you itchy and squirmy, not specifically. It's anyone that's trying to breach a boundary you didn't even know you needed right now. It's why I'm currently taking a break, and it's working. It's giving me a chance to do the work I need to, without feeling pushed or invaded. It's not a slight to our spouses. Although it surely seems that way. But the truth is, being honest about needing time alone is the kindest thing you can do for you both, now, and long term.
As for the girl you used to be. She's still in there. The parts that are meant to stick, anyway. I've only recently come to a realization that has finally put that battle to bed for me. Old, new, what to do. The girl you were, the woman you are, and the woman you want to be... they are all inside you. And although it may seem they cannot coexist, and you need to choose one over the other, the only way you'll ever find peace in yourself is to accept, encourage, and appreciate each of those girls. Past, present, and future. You can expand on the parts of your former self that you like, and leave the rest. You can pay attention to what is working for you in the present, and what is not. And you can find a clearer path to the woman you want to be, using the research material that is your life. It sounds overwhelming, and it may be. But I can tell you the hardest part is in making the decision, then taking the first steps.
One of my new mantras is, "10 seconds of insane courage. 10 seconds. I can do anything for 10 seconds.". And it's true. And, once I've mustered that 10 seconds, and taken a step I can't take back, the rest becomes automatic, and nonnegotiable. Knowing and doing what's right for me (and by extension, my marriage), is no longer optional. Self care is not selfish. Think of the oxygen mask speeck we get from flight attendants. They have it right. You can't help anyone else if you don't take care of yourself first.
So take as many breaks as you need. I know for my husband and I, the breaks (whether under one roof or separated, for a few nights, or a few weeks) are much less painful and confusing and much more productive if we do two things:
1) come to some kind of mutual agreement on the overall goals we're aiming for, individually and together.
2) find, set, and keep whatever boundaries work to keep you in productive territory.
The only other thing that's essential, is committing to not comparing yourselves to who you were, or worse, to other people. You cannot compare your locker room to other peoples' photoshopped highlight reels. Whatever feels normal for you, is normal. And it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, as long as the two of you are on the same page.
I just got off the phone with my husband, and we've made some really good progress the last few days. He's asking me to start fresh. He asked for permission to date me. And do it right. We have some groundrules to establish, but I have to admit; I'm more hopeful than ever that we are working towards a higher form of intimacy and connection. The kind that carries you through old age, grinning like idiots. That's what I'm hoping for you too. <3
I'm struggling tonight. So I gave up on my empty bed and took a long walk up a steep hill. In the rain. At midnight. Sometimes I need to get a little lost to find myself again.
My heart is heavy for you. Heavy, and very hopeful. I've been thinking about what you said about your fears. Specifically, the fear of your husband's efforts being motivated by a desire to reanimate the girl you were when you married him. Here's the thing... I've learned it pays huge dividends to invest a little more faith in the people I love. Especially when I'm wary. It seems counterintuitive, but try to set aside your fears and suspicions regarding his motives. Focus on the intent and try to simply appreciate the fact that he's trying to reconnect, in the only way he may know how. In his own way, by encouraging you to pick up an old passion, he was trying to rekindle a new passion. Within you, and for each other. He loves the girl you were, AND the woman you are. Love expands when we trust, and divides when we doubt. So trust his motives, and trust that he can handle it. It doesn't matter how you react, as long as you react kindly, and genuinely. You can't control what he wants from you any more than you can conform to something that's not true to who you are. So try to allow for your differences, and let him know you appreciate his courage in trying.
I'm sure he's also scared. And lost. He clearly wants to find his way back into your heart. Try to meet his efforts, no matter how fumbled, with your patience. And ask for his in return. I have never regretted extending patience and understanding in a moment of confusion or frustration. Whatever the result, you'll know it will be the correct one.
There's a book I highly recommend if youre not already familiar with it. The Five Love Languages. It's a quick, simple quide for those of us wanting to learn how to better express, and receive, love. One of the things that has helped me, my husband, and our marriage, is being open to using any and all tools that help us speak each others' many languages. Anything you read, see, or hear that resonates, share with him. Ask him to do the same. There's valuable insight to be gained when we get a glimpse of our loved one's perspective. Nothing bad can come from trying to better understand each other. So err on the side of sharing, and try to minimize withholding, especially anything that keeps coming up. The bad comes up more often and on its own, but try not to overlook the good. And share that too. I believe you'll find the terrain between you easier to navigate if you can leave some breadcrumbs for each other.
I hope at least some of this makes sense. I'll continue to root for you, and will be anxious for any updates. Hugs!! <3
Right now things are up and down so quickly it's like a rollercoaster. You've given me courage that I don't think without your words I would have been able to find. After I expressed how he was making me itchy, I took another five minutes to myself and I went back inside. Instead of pushing through the awkwardness, I sat on the floor in front of the sofa he was sitting on and I began to tell him basically everything I told you in that update as well as other stuff. I was very honest and I'll admit that tears found their way to me. It was an overflow of words and emotions for me and I didn't hold back even though I was afraid it would ruin the night that he was trying to have with me. (Or the weekend for that matter) When I was finally able to shut myself up and regain my composure, he started talking. It became an actual conversation about all the things I'd said and how he felt about them. (He NEVER talks about things like this to this extent.) When it was all over we'd agreed that we hadn't been hearing one another. He told me that despite my efforts to express myself, until that moment he didn't realize how bad it had become in my head.
I'm guessing it really took it out of me because I don't remember going to bed, I climbed into the sofa and into his arms where I apparently fell asleep instantly. That next day, we kept to our plans to take our girls shopping as they're growing out of their shoes and clothes so quickly. All was well until his mother called. She wanted to babysit our youngest so we could have a night with our oldest. That's when it went down hill.
Let me explain. My mother in law is always saying how badly she wants to watch our kids and spend time with them. When we ask her to though, she's always too busy, yet she has her other grand daugher who's two years old CONSTANTLY. This irritates me as she's never liked me. I know she loves our kids but after a while I've just become tired of asking her or considering her when it's always the same thing.
Anyway, I became very irritated and shut down, snappy even after he got off the phone with her. Usually in an instance where I shut down or become agitated he will ask me what's wrong and if I don't answer him he becomes the same and very angry at me. This time as we were packing the stroller into the car and loading our stuff we'd bought he simply said "It's okay. I don't know what happened but I'm sorry, please tell me about it so we can get it out of the way. When you're ready." I'll admit, I was knocked off my feet because this wasn't just him working around my attitude, this was him giving a real and genuine effort for us to work things out.
It doesn't sound like much but this was an incredibly big move on his part. Something I'm truly not used to. I gave myself a short breather and I apologized and explained what had gone through my head. He understood and just held my hand while we went to drop our daughter off. We took our oldest to see her first movie. On the way home I was raving about how proud I was that she was so well behaved and so polite, etc. He just grabbed my hand and kissed it. He said, "I'm just grateful you came." He admitted to me he knew that the reason I'd missed those last two trips were because of those things I was feeling (Itchy and uncomfortable around him) that I'd told him the night before. It was mostly true. The night ended spectacularly.
Until midnight. (I'll explain in my next posting but for now I have some things that need my attendance)
I've also got more to say to you in regards to everything you've shared with me but it's not easy to respond during the day. I'll be back. Lots of love in your direction for being such courage to me.
I'm SO HAPPY he's making a genuine effort to not just listen, but to truly understand what's in your head, and heart. Even happier that you're giving yourself permission and time to share freely and honestly with him. Most couples never get to that level of commitment and courage. So kudos to you both.
Take all the time you need. I'll be looking forward to hearing from you. <3
Around midnight, our youngest daughter woke up. One thing my husband has consistently kept up in our marriage was that throughout our babies early lives, he's always been willing to wake up and help me out. Mostly because he's extremely good at getting them back to sleep. Once mommy has them it's hell trying to get them to let me put them back to bed, EVEN once they've fallen asleep in my arms. They seem to wake up as soon as they touch the bed, completely crying and wanting back in my arms. So during these moments, here he comes, soothing them and getting them back to sleep in a way I have difficulty.
Anyhow, she woke up and tonight she was fussier than usual. (her allergies have kicked up and she's been extremely congested) She was wailing and screaming and nothing I did made it better. I mean nothing. We swayed, rocked, we walked the halls and I sang. Finally I couldn't bear it anymore. Her cries were breaking my heart. I set her down and went into our bedroom. I begged him to wake up and help me. (I try very hard not to wake him up at night for anything unless I'm desperate. I was. He woke up angry that I'd woken him up.
I feel like I need to clarify something real quick. My husband is not only a sleep talker, but he's also a sleep walker. I refer to it as "sleep him" Sometimes when I wake him up or he wakes up in the middle of the night, there's no guarantee which one I'm going to get. My husband or my "sleep" husband. It's nerve wracking as much as sometimes it can be funny. Usually it's no laughing matter. "Sleep" him is not a nice person. He's a grump and very ill mannered. He doesn't have any recollection of anything when he wakes up and is not even slightly aware these moments took place. There have even been instances where he's watching a tv show with me at night and falls asleep, sometimes I don't know because he will "wake" back up and continue watching it with me. He will laugh, talk and mumble weird nothings that make no sense. The next night I'll go to start the next episode and he's confused because he didn't watch the last one. There are the nights he wakes up and I don't realize he's actually asleep and he's nice and telling me the little things he loves about his life. "Sleep" him is a very confusing person, but most times he's just (pardon me) a douche.
When I woke him up in desperation, I was met with "sleep" him. The discourteous one. He was angered he was woken up and we had a small tiff before he got into the bedroom. He went in and even in sleep mode, softened up and tried to soothe her. After not even a minute he said "That's it, I'm done." and went back to bed. Now, in these moments I try to be understanding because I know he won't remember it the next day.
I couldn't help it, I was angry. I knew I shouldn't be and then I was angry with myself for being upset with something he had no control over. My daughter and I went to the sofa, where she slept on my chest until early morning, when I was able to sneak her back into her bed.
Now the part that truly concerned me and I considered the "down" to our weekend with many "ups" and progress, was how upset I'd gotten. I didn't allow my daughter or husband to see how upset I'd been but I felt nothing less than rage. It reminded me that though we are making progress, I'm going to have the most difficult time. I don't know how to get over his laziness and lack of contribution around the home.
Today, he mowed the lawn without me saying so much as a word, he filed away our paperwork and bills, without my asking. He woke up with the kids and let me sleep as long as I wanted, and when I woke up he had coffee ready for me. These are not little things he's doing, to me. These are enormous progressions that hours of me begging and pleading have never succeeded. This is truly him realizing how close I'd come to leaving the marriage, and him making a change and fighting for our marriage. He's showing me without me having to ask that he wants this marriage as much as I do. I cannot stress enough how much I'd tried in the past without so much as a grunt from him. Yet, with even this much progress in such a short period of time, I can't move passed the past. I know I'm going to be wary and I'm going to feel things but I'm starting to realize it's had much more impact on me than I'd already thought even in my most desperate moments.
I feel myself shrinking back at the work that needs to be done and I feel horribly towards myself for wanting this moment only to have it come and feel so much pressure. I guess I lived in a fairytale that once he begun to do his part, all would fall in place. I never once thought it would affect me in this way. All the resentment, fear, and heartache are coming back to me in floods. I thought if we could work on it, I would feel more confident, yet I'm feeling so skeptical. I feel like there is a joke about to be pulled on me. I love this man. I want this marriage. If I could envision my life with anyone, it would only be him. I just now realize that my hurt has actually affected me more than I realized. I want to work at this. I'm trying to work at it but I'm taking as many steps back as forward, whereas he's gliding through the process in order to make me happy at any turn. I can't say for what he feels and the pain I've caused him before in my angered moments.
I'll admit, I've been downright hateful at times when pleading didn't work. Now that we are both trying, I'm having a hard time putting all of that away. I feel defensive. Even when I know all the things I've felt are justified, my actions haven't been. So I guess now that everything is changing, I feel more than afraid and everything is hitting me at once. I want to work this out and put in the work, but I find myself too shocked by the process to believe it's real. Once I realize it is, I force myself to get out of the "shut him out" period I go through.
This is all the while I'm trying to figure out the woman I am today.. I want that woman to be someone who doesn't back down from challenges, but a marriage is so much more work than anyone realizes.
I don't think he's realized what an impact it's had on me no matter how I try to tell him it has been. I feel guilty retreating to my corner to sort my head out when he's trying to do all the things I want. In the past, I could sit down with him and talk even if I'd intruded on him in the bathroom, now I find it difficult to even sit next to him for a show. I know I love him but situations in our lives has changed in a way that I'm finding hard to handle.
As for your walk to get to yourself in the rain, I've taken many of those even if they weren't in the rain. It's hard to know yourself after something like this. It takes time and thought and sometimes you realize more about yourself than you want to know. When going through something like this, we are questioning every move we've ever made before this moment we've taken to fix it. Everything is one big question mark no matter how much hope we feel. I understand this. I believe you to be a strong woman of sound mind that will work out what's best for her no matter what road that leads her down. I can tell you love your husband very much and he loves you otherwise he wouldn't be putting in this much effort to keep what you have. I really hope it works out. No matter how well you love someone or try, there will be the moments that eat up every happy memory. Fixing and finding that thing that resolves the issue is no easy matter. I find you and your husband to be an inspiration. No matter how trying things have gotten you're both still willing to put a foot into saving something so precious. Don't let it get you down as it has me. I appreciate you as a person, just by our conversation here and your husband is a very lucky man to be with a woman like you. The fact instead of giving up he's saying date me again.. Says all, I think you two can fight for it because the both of you are willing to take time for your marriage but also time for yourselves to figure out who you've become after all these years. I wish you luck. I hope to hear from you soon.
Update to an update. Bear with me, I feel like this might be common for a while.
My husband I were sitting on the sofa watching a show. During a commercial I couldn't help but stare and finally he asked.
"Why are you staring?"
Me: "You're trying so hard for me to understand my point of view.."
Him: "I'm in it for the long haul, I said that when I said our vows. I wasn't joking when I said I wanted you for the rest of my life."
Me: "Well what do you worry about besides what's going on in my head?"
Him: "I guess finances. We're behind on everything and I want to give you a better life. Better vehicle, home, more kids.."
Me: "So you're worrying about our future? So am I. But I'm worried about what it will be like if we can't figure out our marriage first."
I asked him about what was bothering him about us as a couple and he really didn't have much to say. I guess his complacency has been just that. It still bothers me. When I went inside he was eating
from a snack bag I have and when I sat down next to him, I felt awkward. Our arms touched and I felt freaked by the very notion. What is this? Where is it coming from? I've been ready to face these things head on, more than he ever has but I'm the one shrinking back and feeling intimidated. Is this normal?
I'm reading and replying as I go. I don't want anything to get lost in the shuffle. I hope that's okay...
I understand feeling rage. I totally get it. You should give yourself a bit of a pass there. You couldn't control your frustration and anger (at the situation in general, as well as at him) than he could control his level of consciousness or awareness. It's so weird that our husbands have something like this in common.... but I'm glad we do. Because I truly can understand. And I can tell you that you had every right to be upset. Even if you hadn't been working yourself to exhaustion emotionally and physically, desperation is desperation. And then he failed you. Not consciously, but that's what happened. In that moment, his failure to step up when you needed him (conscious or not) was the last straw. You can only take so much. So don't beat yourself up for being angry. You're human. You're in turmoil. You're going to be a little raw. Allow for that, and know feeling things deeply is where the real work is done. So again, in the bigger picture, anything genuine is for the greater good. Even rage.
I think what's driving the wedge between you is resentment. And you have to talk to him about it. It's been building for so long, it's not going to just disappear. Now that he's doing everything you've ever asked him to, ON HIS OWN, you believe you should just *poof* live happily ever after. That's not how it works. Not really. You're going to have doubts. You're going to be confused and frustrated. And that's totally normal. I believe he really does "get it". And that's HUGE. But I've been there. And I know that when he finally started pitching in, voluntarily, I was very wary. I didn't trust that he was making the change for the long term. I was afraid he was only doing what was necessary to keep me, and once I recommitted, he'd stop. And things would go back to how they were. So believe me, I get it.
You get so "squirmy" because all of the frustration and hurt that has built up between you, is now literally between you. I know what it's like to lay right next to someone yet feel there's the Grand Canyon between you. Filled with all the things we don't say to each other. His touch is unsettling because you're so raw. You need to talk to him. He needs to understand just how badly his apathy and complacency has eroded your feelings over time. That it's going to take time for you to trust that he truly wants to commit to these changes for the long haul. Not just when he's afraid of losing you. Does that make sense?
It's called, I don't believe you, I think this is all just a quick-fix act, you've had ridiculously too many chances to step up at my repeated behest and yet it's only once you realise I'm at the end of my tether and *seriously* considering leaving you that you get off your behind and do something - first half-heartedly if you can possibly get away with it [- you're not seriously telling me he doesn't KNOW you like hangers facing uniformly or can't distinguish between yours and your daughters outfits!] and then properly once you realise you can't...which shows me how you were *always* perfectly capable - even when you claimed the contrary - and could have been stepping up LONG before today, meaning, we wouldn't BE in the mess we're now in!
Those allegedly big/highly impactful efforts lately to help are not big things, they're bog-standard contributions to the household and don't warrant a round of applause. Where's the wooing-you part in with that effort, rather than just the fatherly stuff, i.e. him trying not to lose his family set-up?
Why does he show he cares only when your chronic unhappiness about being under- or downright unappreciated look like they could finally impact on HIM and make HIM unhappy?
You need to stop analysing (, minimising, misconcluding according to what you HOPE, and making excuses) and get that counselling course underway as soon as possible. He's passive-aggressive, e.g.  "yes, dear" x 10 = still doesn't do it x 10, plus  blaming stupid things like negligible alcohol intake on your part for your criticisms over his failings (which I suppose is at least more original than blaming it on your PMT) rather than face up to the fact that, Houston, there is a problem, and COOPERATING PROPERLY by sitting there-and-then at the round table.
Here (although it's not 'law' that you should move on, like the (clearly defeated) narrator of the video says, because that all depends entirely on whether he can finally change and cease seeing and treating you like a low-cost nanny/cook/housekeeper/bottle-washer, doesn't it...and that depends on the individual and their degree of passive-aggressiveness):
The above is not to say he isn't sincerely trying, finally (although, again - trying to remedy/safeguard *what*, specifically?), but it'll have little impact if you're unable to feel and act appreciative due to you (understandably) trusting neither its genuineness nor longevity as opposed to just some quick, fairly limited burst intended to placate you long enough for you to start relaxing and re-attaching - back to where ONCE AGAIN daring to form a decision to cease tolerating this uneven boat-rowing by way of a firm ultimatum message (separation/divorce) becomes too scary. And I say 'message' because one can tell when the other has hit Crunch Time, *without* their having to spell it out word-for-word.
In other words, because you've detached by whatever critical quantum you feel STRONG enough, now, to finally put your foot down and insist on better treatment or 'no dice'. And it's this (finally!) state of mind of yours which you're too scared and loath to let go of and possibly see lost for-good (I'm not surprised..although, no it won't be).
But anyway, who SAID you should experience and exhibit a change of heart just because he's stepped up for 5 piddly minutes compared to year after year of systematic refusals? If he's on probation (damn right!) with only himself to blame on that score then, on probation he is, meaning, STAY acting like it, what's so unreasonable about that? You're human and learn from consistent repetition of lack of action and lack sustainment, aren't you? So do likewise now: fail to learn that he's changed in a never-ending way until he's taught you it is - fact - the New Him. Simples!
I get what you're saying and I do very much agree with your last point. I won't be okay until I know that this isn't just him trying to win me over with something I've asked for time and time again. I won't be satisfied until I'm sure this isn't an act and that it's very much him putting in the effort for the long haul.
As far as the hangers go. Yes, they were hung incorrectly by my way of doing things. Yes, he knows how I specify clothes to be hung up. (Not just for ease, but because I can't sleep if they aren't done right to my knowledge.) I also want to state my husband has a way of annoying me that makes me smile. He knows that it will irritate me but it will in the end make me grin. He has a way of getting under my skin just to see me worked up. Once I've realized he wants to see my tiny self in a fit (Him watching me with a very much in love grin) the ice breaks and I'm smiling too. I'll break out in a laugh even. I wasn't annoyed when I saw the obvious wrong way he hung up the clothes. Him hanging those things in the closet wasn't "look I'm making an effort" it simply was "I'm sorry, I should have helped you." It was a tiny white flag to what I could have later brought into an argument. I believe that he knew that when I saw those clothes, I would smile and that's why he did it.
We have counseling underway. I've stated this above. We do want to work this out before it's more than we can handle. I'm not going to stop analyzing though I wish I could. For once, my over thinking is making sense to me. My analyzations have helped me to express and understand what I've been feeling in a way that I can relay it to him so as he's more able to help move on from where we have been.
I know my husband well enough to know that these "5 piddly minutes" are a genuine effort no matter how skeptical I feel. I know now that through this I may stay skeptical and overly wary, but in the same moment I know him well enough to know that he truly is putting a foot forward in a way he hasn't before.
I'm afraid your post timed at 21:12 will have to be deleted for the fact it's a deliberate attempt to get around what is, for your own and the OP's safety, a forum code of conduct, to wit:
For your safety, we would strongly recommend against sharing personally identifiable information such as e-mail addresses, social media profiles, telephone numbers and physical locations when using this service. If you would like to find out more about protecting your identity on the internet, you may like to visit the following resource: http://www.knowthenet.org.uk/knowledge-centre/forum-safety.
Other than that, please carry on.
Well, that's good, but only if it gets *sustained*. All I'm saying is, don't feel guilty and beat yourself up if you've had your ability to bounce instantly back like that, eroded. So would anyone (*particularly* a man, were the roles reversed). Especially as we all know, including him, that if this were a boss-employee set-up, i.e. no attachment or dependence to a wife and co-parent's degree, he'd have been fired long before today. Therefore, it's better for him AND you AND the kids if he has that semblance of your hard-to-shift scepticism so that the long, drawn-out 'ultimatum' poses for as long possible as an opportunity for him in which to develop new, actual HABITS as take over from the old and - voila - scepticism gone/superfluous to requirements. In other words, he caused that particular mess, he can be the one to clean it up.
Good luck with the counselling, I'm sure it'll help majorly as a turning point!
Meanwhile, please feel free to carry on chatting and comparing notes with MamaBear.
I want to update that so far as terms of my marriage things are going well. I'm suffering. Not for my marriage anymore because there seems there was an active man in him after all. I'm taking time to work on myself and fix whatever might have been building up with me. I appreciate both you and MAMABEAR for being there when I needed.
It'll take a while - letting the resentment get drowned out by the new, more positive behaviour - because, just like how it takes years to 'drip-drip-style' put on weight it's going to take years to lose it again (for good) - it's a process (this case a return walk). However, saying that, it's when you outdo the process rate of having gained the weight, BY ADDING EXERCISE (i.e. doing the return journey at a running pace), that you lose it surprisingly a lot more quickly. So losing that negativity is going to be a wholly joint effort, with any speeded-up-ness in *his* hands.
The moral of this story is, know your worth hence start to nip unwanted buds the minute they appear. If not, they inevitably grow into ruddy great thorn bushes that then take ages to prune or overwhelm you into paralysis.
I know it's difficult when you've got young kids to have the wherewithal to keep your eye on every ball. But X quantum of work in the moment still outdoes XXX quantum at a later date, so it's worth busting that present gut for.
Or as Susie and Mamabear put it, "And you have "cooked and cleaned and taken care of the home" - while letting him feel that his work was equal to what was happening in your home. This is how we build our own gilded cage (believe me, I know)" + "When you're married to your best friend, and the marriage part gets stale and less of a priority, it's very easy to rely on the friendship [come quasi brother and sister] to get you through each day. Especially with kids involved".
Do keep keeping us posted if you like?
(MB, please email Richard to let him now what your bad experiences in the chat room were?)
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