Needy Husband troubling marriage

lisagw411April 24, 2012

I am clueless as to what I should do and appreciate any outside advice. Here is my situation (apologizing in advance for the length). My husband is very high maintenance and incredibly needy. After a conversation we had this past weekend - he is upset that our life isn't what it use to be before our son was born. In a nutshell - he is jealous that his son gets more attention from me than he does. How is our life now? We have a 2 year old son who was recently diagnosed with autism. I am a work from home mom who spends five days out of my week dealing with four different therapist while trying to complete my hours for work. I designate Saturday as family day so all three of us can do things together and we focus on trying to play catch-up and getting things done around the house on sundays. I can't even find time for myself and yet I have a husband who is complaining that I am not making enough time for him. We agreed on trying to do quality time at least once a month were I would set work aside (getting up early the next day to make up the hours) and just spend time with him. That isn't enough. I spend the weekend mornings in bed with him before our son gets up (still not enough for him). I have no idea what to do. I am spread so thin and he wants more and is not happy. It is getting to the point that I just don't even care anymore. Please help...

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If you think your posts are lengthy, you should see mine...

Hmmm, where to start. I may bounce all over the place so bear with me. First let me start by saying that you have your hands full, what a life. That sounds exhausting, and I feel for you. It sounds like you've tried to make time for him and it isn't enough. Why isn't it enough? Is there something going on with him that he feels he needs more? Are you giving it to him, but not really putting your whole heart into it?

I get that you're exhausted, as well you should be. He should be more concerned about your son too, and also try to help more with him. Maybe that would free you up to spend more quality time with him.

I will say that I don't think a man's need for confirmation is necessarily 'needy'. It could be, but men like reassurance, they like appreciation and respect. He may feel that he's doing a lot for you and the family and not getting anything in return. You didn't mention his side. I'm not suggesting that what you're feeling is wrong, but to really understand you need to talk to him.

I currently feel like I am being needy in my marriage, but it's because my wife is not making a connection with me. So it's causing me to be more needy than I normally would be.

Sounds like as far as time goes, you're booked solid. I don't see you getting any more of that, so you'll probably have to discuss this with him. Have you tried? You could write a letter, I find they work well.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 2:50PM
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I have tried - I have asked him what he wants from me. His answer is usually "I don't know". This has been an ongoing issue with him. It is never enough - I keep telling him that he comes first and if there is any point in time that he wants to be with his wife just let me know - I will set work aside - he doesn't do it. I have taken him out to dinner, surprised him with small tokens of affection, sent him caring text messages, post sweet comments on facebook, compliment him more than he has ever complimented me, and pretty much make him feel the the king of the freakin' universe but it still isn't enough. See why I am at my wits end? He is jealous of his son - he wants more time than I give our child which is impossible. His chief complaint is that he feels like he is fighting for quality time with me and wants the life we had before our son came along (when all of my time and energy went to him). I can't turn back time and I wouldn't want too - I have no idea what to do.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 3:17PM
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Wow, ok already sounds like you're doing a lot. My wife does almost none of that. Never did. I had a woman that did it once and it was awesome, but my wife doesn't and I learned to live with it. Children usually get the bulk of the attention, that's just the way it is. It's good you dont' shut him out entirely. I once dated a woman who I was sure would shut me out entirely if we ever had kids, but it sounds like you still make time. You can't go back to the life you had before you had kids, it's just not possible. Kids change your life completely, which is why I've hesitated for so long.

Sounds like you've done as much as you can. He probably needs to hear it from someone outside the marriage, IE his friends or a counselor. When is the last time you two went on vacation? Maybe that would help get you away from it all for a bit. Of course, then it might just start up again when you get back.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 3:29PM
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Thank you - your post made me feel so much better. I was thinking about having my mother come down and watch our son so we could go out on a real date one night. We would leave after our son was asleep so he wouldn't have a tantrum knowing I was gone. My biggest concern (as you said) is if it will start up again once that moment passes - will he want that all the time. Will he push for more since the biggest problem I have with him is that he is never satisfied.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 4:12PM
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He needs to understand that he is part of the problem, otherwise it may never go away.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 4:22PM
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He doesn't see it that way - he keeps acting like the victim

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 6:00PM
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Then there's the tough part I guess. Someone you have to make him understand, either through friends or counseling, at least in my opinion. But it seems like you are doing quite a bit and he really is the problem.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 6:09PM
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Used the His Needs Her Needs questionnaires which caused him to focus on his needs and own up to them. Found a reasonable solution to sexual fulfillment (which apparently is the root cause to all of his problems) and he is actually going to try to learn to do as I asked and approach me when he needs quality time instead of making excuses and then whining about it. Thanks again and wish me luck on regaining my sanity.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 10:44PM
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Great! So at least you're having more luck than me! But I wouldn't use words like 'whine'. Men hate that. Girls used to call me a 'baby'. Even if I was acting like one, I didn't want to be called one. Words like that will just escalate the situation, so try to avoid them.

And sex is a big deal to men, sorry if you don't want to hear that... I don't know how often you're doing it, but you'll need to try to compromise. He has to do his part too, women get in the mood differently, you know men doing chores, giving compliments, flowers etc. That stuff is foreplay for women, so he should be doing that to get you in the mood. (there was a book called porn for women and it was all stuff like guys doing chores, holding puppy dogs, and buying women nice things, pretty hilarious)

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 11:20PM
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Your husband sounds like a child ! It is amazing when you have children and become used to their behavior, that you see it in some adults who don't seem to have grown out of it.

You are doing a great job with your child and husband. You are making an effort on all fronts.

Ask yourself "how would I like him to behave " ?

That helped me realize exactly how I could behave to get the best out of situations with my children and DH. I also read lots of books about communication and always made sure I behaved in the best way that was not confrontational.

It is a long process !

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 12:12AM
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Popi hit it - your DH is a child. Unless he grows up and shoulders his half, you are just running yourself to a nub trying to please him. Personally, I would stop coddling the fool and give him a big kick in the kiester. ("Keester"? Whatever.)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 3:06AM
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You know what would solve the problem? You need to take a vacation. I know that sounds flippant, but I'm serious here.

Make arrangements to go away for a week (2 would be better)--with a girlfriend, or go visit some out of state family. Meanwhile, tell your husband he has to take the week off to care for your son and the house. Let him be "Mr. Mom" for a week. Let him see how much work goes into caring for a child, feeding a family, doing all the chores. Let him see how tired he is at the end of each day.

I certainly didn't do it for that reason--my husband was a wonderful helper when we had our daughter--but my sister and I used to take about a week and a half each fall to travel. My DH took the same time off from work to care for DD and the house. He didn't do things the same way I would, but it was a fantastic opportunity for all of us--I got to enjoy spending time with my sister and recharging my batteries, DH got to see world from my side of the coin, and he and dd had wonderful time together to bond and just have fun. And she assured me he fed her a varied menu--every night they ordered the pizza from a different pizza place!!! It didn't hurt anyone for a week, and they both enjoyed it--LOL!

Really--the biggest thing that's going to help your marriage is to somehow get your husband to step into your shoes to see what you're dealing with.

I am a bit curious--how old is he? If he's in his early to mid-20's, perhaps we're all being a bit hard on him. Unfortunately, it's a fact that our brains aren't fully mature until at least 25-26 (and some people take a little longer). He may simply not have the tools to act more maturely yet, if you two are still young.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 7:04AM
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Your husband sounds like he needs to grow up and realize that helping out with your autistic child is te number one priority. I too have an autistic child. He was diagnosed at 18 months. I understand how hard it is dealing with the therapists and treatment. You are doing bio-medical treatment for your son right? Anyway, my wife had to deal with all of that while I worked. Oh, and we have twins. Only one of which is autistic which apparently is rare. My autistic boy is close to "normal" now and that's thanks to the hard work we did TOGETHER. He needs to understand that he's a father now and the life you have together is different now.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 2:10AM
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Good on you Bentley - what a wonderful parent you are, you son is very lucky to have you as his dad.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 2:52AM
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I understand all too well what you are describing. I am a mother of two autistic children, ages 5 and 3, the youngest is non-verbal and requires a lot of care. My husband and I have been together for close to eight years, and he is still in many ways, very needy and demanding for attention. I used to drop everything for him, even at the expense of my children, and I discovered he wanted even more. I had to make a choice...what was most important at this time in our lives? Early intervention for autism. I had to set boundaries with my husband. I approached him in a positive manner even though inside I wanted to smack him :D Men desire respect more than anything, so I had to be mindful of his needs, even if I felt he was being a big baby. I knew he was acting out his worry that we would be disconnected because of the intense work involved with special needs children. I had to admit that even if he came across as selfish, he still was expressing a desire to be close and intimate with me. So I approached him along these lines :(ahem) "I know you want to spend quality time with me, and that's great. Thank you for choosing me as your mate. As you know, early intervention for autism is key for our child. We have a huge job ahead of us, but we can do it, one day at a time. Here are my goals for our child for the next two months, and for the next year.( I typed it out for him to keep and consider). I want you to understand that this is my mission, this is my job. Just as I don't interfere with your job when you go to work, I expect the same thing in return. My job is 24/7, but I am working towards getting help. Until then, I am going to be very tired, physically and emotionally. Here is my calendar for the next month. ( I handed him a copy) If you would like a date night, please pick a day that is not filled up. Here is my daily schedule, with my chore list. (Handed him a copy of that) If you would like quality time, like an in-home date, please check my schedule to be sure it isn't during these times. I love you and want you to know that after the early intervention period is over, things will begin to improve as we adjust, and we will have more time for each other. For now, it is going to be difficult, and for that I am sorry. That does not mean you cannot be involved. We can find ways to be intimate as long as we work together as a team."

Now my husband took a look at all I had to do. He could see it in writing how I did not have a lot of time or energy left over. He quickly understood that if he wanted to have quality time with me, he would have to get involved in my mission. He would have to set aside his needs sometimes for the good of his child, just as I had to on a daily basis. We had to be a team, or we would lose the intimacy, and no one wants that.
This worked for me, but I had to be consistent, and I had to remind him frequently at first. He seemed resentful for a while, but when he saw the wonderful changes in our children, he got excited and inspired. This was a fantastic surprise. I assumed I would have to do it alone, but my hard work paid off. Now we go to marriage counseling for "preventative maintenance", and practice communication skills. Our marriage is just as important as our children. But sometimes, you have to go it alone while your husband pouts. You have to do the right thing, even if he doesn't understand. I hope this helps!!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 8:06PM
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