Love and affection - where is it
Bear with me if you can - too much to say here, but I need a starting point before I seek some help...
I have been married for almost 17 years and have children. I don't know what to say about the marriage though. I honestly am not sure whether my husband truly loves me. Oh, he will say it in the morning when he leaves for work and in the evening when we go to sleep. Other than that... no hugs w/o my asking, no helping around the house w/o my asking, no stopping on the way home at the grocery store if I need something (it is not on his way home), no compliments (ever!), not much help with the kids' schedule of practices, etc..., negative about my entire family (although I can't say I blame him much there), negative about his entire family (I like them and we do get along), negative about people in general, claims that he shows love by not messing around and always doing his best to be here for his family, never looks at me in a loving way whatsoever, talks about his job and treats mine as if it is an intrusion. Yes - in addition to taking care of the kids, paying the bills, cleaning the house, taking care of "his" dog, driving the kids to 6 different sports, grocery shopping and making dinner and cleaning up (never offers), I do have a full-time job. And I make a damn good living - one we could not do withour and maintain the lifestyle he likes to have.
Additionally, he has belittled me in front of the children and pointed out my weaknesses, physically hurt me on two occasions(12 years ago and I told him if he ever touched me again I would leave), calls the kids names (stupid, idiot, etc...) when they are in trouble, and plays favorites to one of our kids. While he doesn't physically hurt me now, I do often feel that I am manipulated by him. He is very intelligent and can turn a conversation around on you in an instant by reminding me of something I did wrong - knowing that I feel guilty about anything very easily. He argues in black and white and is full of logic, and I argue in grey and with too much emotion involved. It is too a point that if he is in a bad mood, I just suck it up because if I say something, he will toss something back in my face. I have heard so many negative things about myself from him, that I just can't stand the thought of hearing one more.
I know I am not a bad person. Now he is claiming I abuse alcohol. I enjoy a glass of wine or 2 in the evenings when I make dinner, and as I mentioned before, we do socialize and go out with friends and have cocktails. Now I feel guilty and have started sneaking wine so I don't have to hear him. I know. Pathetic. I can see where that can lead to a serious problem and so I have stop having any wine during the week.
I don't want a divorce - had that as a kid. I do want, however, to have him treat me as his spouse. I can stick it out until until the children are out of school, but I don't want to feel manipulated for the rest of those years.
I know there is inside him the man I love and the father the children love. I see it often when he is not working. He does have a very stressful job, and his work is important. I know that and never treat it lightly. I always try to adapt to his schedule and try to make things easy. The house may not always be picked up (and I have heard in the past how I have my priorites screwed up by working at my job and not taking care of the house - I work from a home office), but I honestly do my best to balance it all. I often get compliments from friends about how nice the house looks, so it can't be all that bad.
So, what do you think? Am I nuts? Are these typical squabbles from male/female points of view and 17 years of marriage?