Love and affection - where is it

jumekaJanuary 16, 2007

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?

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I dont think you're crazy.Most marriages (exspecially one that lasts as long as yours) have their ups and downs.
I'm wondering if your husband has low self essteam.Particularly regarding you having a job that makes alot of money.Some men feel bad that they arent able to support their families on their own.Also,since you said he is negative in general,most negative people are depressed in some way.

You said his job is stressful,and from my own exprience,a man who is unhappy at his job~is a man who is unhappy with life.
My own husband hated his job,to the point where everyday he was coming home in a bad mood. Finally I just told him,if you hate it so much,please go look for something else.I didnt care if he took a paycut so long as he wasnt miserable anymore.It made a big difference in his attitude.

Can I ask...what was his attitude before you had your job? Was it the same? Or was he more relaxed.
I know it's 2007,and tons of women work and support their families.But there are still men who prefer to have the wife at home.Who like to walk into an orderly house and be welcomed by everyone.Do you think he is one of those men?
Or do you think maybe he is just jealous you like your job and maybe he doesnt like his?

I think if you certainly dont have a drinking problem,then you shouldnt have to go sneaking around to have a glass of wine.Or have to quit either for that matter.You work,cook,take care of the kids,and if that is the one point of your day where you can relax,so be it.Unless it's effecting your job or your behavior,then you most likely do not have a problem. Many people have wine with dinner.

It sounds to me like you are doing everything you can to accomedate him and he isnt doing anything to accomedate you.

Marriage is about compromise,not about one person doing all the changing to please the other.

It is also important he not be so critical of you. You said you have heard so many negative things about yourself from him.
I think therapy would help...if you can get him to go.You need to find out the root of his attitude problem.Unless you start sticking up for yourself,he may not treat you as he should.
No one wants a divorce,but I would certainly hope he got physical with you again that you would leave him.And if he ever hit your kids.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 3:55PM
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So you told him not to hit you again...
& he changed his method to emotional, verbal, & psychological abuse.

He's not the person you *thought* you married, he's an abuser:

He's got you completely under control, so confused that you think you must be bad, or crazy, or alcoholic, *& now he's started on the children*, belittling, manipulating, name-calling.

This never never gets better, it gets worse.

The desire for power & control cannot be satisfied.
The more it's fed, the hungrier it becomes.

The more successful he is at degrading you, the more he'll do it.

You say you don't want a divorce because you "had that as a kid".

But you *didn't*.

Your parents had it, & it was not your fault, not your doing, not your divorce.

What you have now, today, is an out-of-control abuser who's destroying your own self-worth & your quality of life, & children whose lives are being destroyed by verbal & emotional abuse, by hatefulness & mistreatment, & by the fact that their mother isn't doing anything about it.

I wish you well.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 9:10PM
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My husband has never been physically abusive, but he also argues in black and white and definitely manipulates situations and conversations. He is dealing with mania, anxiety and depression. Your story, to me, sounds like a situation where the husband may be dealing with at least some degree of depression, and I agree with coolmamma that the unhappiness your husband has regarding his job may be affecting his mood at home and with you. It rings familar with me, as well, that he may be the type of man that has the old-fashioned view that he should be making the bulk of the income and you should be "maintaining the home." As everyone would say, try to sort out what is best for you. Stand up for yourself but encourage him to explore what affects his moods, and therefore, his willingness to contribute at home, be complimentary to you, and why he seems to favor one child over the other. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 10:07PM
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Your story is hard to interpret because it some ways, but I guess that really depends on the severity and consistancy of it.

The fact is, most people manipulate their relationships in at least some ways...that's just how they work. You try to get your brother in a good mood before you ask a favor; Your husband wants an evening of romance so he does the dishes; You want a new expenisve blender so you remind your husband that he spent way too much on his new camera that doesn't even work. Sometimes this manipulation is intentionally, sometimes not, sometimes it's harsher than other times (name calling, etc)....Who knows what is right or wrong or when this manipulating actually becomes abuse?

I would bet your husband is a little, if not a lot, insecure so likes to point out your imperfections. But, I wouldn't doubt that he may truly feel you could have an alchohol problem...the fact that you tried to hide it, even made me question it. Not that you should let him control you, but have you thought about (could you?) quit drinking for a period of time...If nothing else, it will not give him that to hold over you? Sometimes people don't realize how a drink or two every night can change their personality.

Not sure how conservative you are, but have you thought of reading one of those ultra conservative books about marriage? I saw one of the authors talking the other day and she really didn't seem all that off. If you have a more traditional family and it's not something you're totally against, it may be at least worth a try. I think there's something to the concept of treating your man like he's the best man in the world (especially if he has insecurity problems)...I think it can build up his esteem and he may reflect the good attitude back to you...making the marriage better for all. Obviously, if it makes things worse, or if you are feeling even more controlled by him with no added benefits to you, you may have to consider a different approach.

I'm not too sure you are in a severe abusive relationship...Why? Because you are still seeing clearly, recognize you husband's faults, still appear to see yourself as worthy, and are blaming him, not yourself. Most badly abused women have low self esteem and blame themselves for everything wrong in the marriage. If you see yourself getting to that point, get help or get out.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 11:34PM
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There are lots of things going on here.

Your husband regularly insults you by pointing out your faults, he critisizes his children and calls them names. He is good at arguing and manipulating you so its seems that you are at fault. Its is not acceptable. Its sad. The feelings that I can see in your posting are bitterness, frustration from you and your husband.

Do you want a household where the undercurrent is a "positive mood", where children are encouraged and not critisized, where the mum is supported and feels loved, where everyone's efforts are acknowledged and appreciated ?

How do you think your children will end up, growing up in that environment ?

Take action now, I think you know what you want, you know how you want your homelife to be, else why would you put this posting here ?

All the best to you.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 3:58AM
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Thank you all. I want to say that I appreciate your taking time out of your lives to help me figure a few things out.
I do love my husband and do want things to work out, but I have to be realistic about how things are and will be, and if I can live like that. We do have a conservative marriage, and that is something we both agree with! I work from home because being here for our kids is my first priority. I know my contributions are important and he does as well, although I agree it bugs him. He is the main bread winner, and as odd as it seems, he does enjoy his job overall. He just is an A type worker/person, so gets easily frustrated. I have to stand up to him and make sure that he doesn't tranfer his frustration, control and negativity to me and the kids.
So, going forward, that will be my goal. If he can't live with that, then we will have to see what happens. I agree that a positive environment is needed here.
Thank you for confirming what deep down I think I already knew.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 12:59PM
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I believe that people can change, they can modify their behaviour, if they want to.

Realistically....if the behaviour is upsetting people then, they should want to change because that person is precious to them.

We expect children to modify their behaviour, "sit down and be quiet ", "stop grizzling" etc , then its resonable that adults should modify their behviour.

Lots of adults around seem to act like children, I see it often in the shops, and in daily life.

Do you think your husband needs to think about these things ? Perhaps you can use your wise female mind to facilitate that change....


    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 6:35PM
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I agree with those who suggested that your husband may be depressed. You, too. It's easy enough to fall into that trap when it's what you live.

If your husband is unwilling to go to a therapist (now, why would I think that?) you should go on your own. It can really help a lot. You do have to be responsible for yourself and your children regardless of what he chooses to do about his own state of mind.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 10:21PM
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I agree,You should see therapist.But It must be psychiatrist with in conventional medicine only.Your family GP can send you to a good one.And seeing your GP should be your first step.Your husband will be forced to have some sessions too.
Also social workers will be involved.It will help.It helped me.I also had a problem with my husband very similar to yours.Our daughter was also called with bad names.
I am very sorry for you.Please,do not stay with your arms folded,take some action instead.I hope any of you actions will bring a good result.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 5:55PM
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Sylviatexas nailed it, sorry to say.

Been there, done that, and HE WILL NOT CHANGE.

No matter what you do, what you say, how you act, what you think, how you keep the house, how you cook, how your family is, how your job is, how your kids are, what time the sun came up..............................he will never change.

It's not your fault, it's not because he is depressed, it's not because he has a stressful job, it's not because he had a bad day, it's not because the house isn't perfect, it's not because you don't get manicures, it's not because......because...because...because.....

He's an abuser, loud an clear. My soon to be ex husband tried to hit me once, too. And I did the same thing as you. He never tried to physically hurt me again. He just refined the mental and emotional abuse.

Please, don't waste any more of your life. I kicked him out at 5 years, then took him back for 10 more. 10 wasted years that I can never get back.

Please believe me, he will not change. He will get better for awhile, as needed, but then go back to the same behaviors. You can't fix him. You can only save yourself and your children.

Here are some books I highly recommend:

The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans
Verbal Abuse: Survivors Speak Out by Patricia Evans

Also, do a search on Google and on using Verbal Abuse and/or Emotional Abuse as the search terms.

Read any of these books, and you will be stopped cold as you recognize *your life* in them.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 10:39PM
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