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Will by boys grow up to be disaffectionate husbands?

Posted by nofaves (My Page) on
Sat, Oct 20, 07 at 2:21

I am in a marriage that lacks affection between myself and DH. We are both openly affectionate with hugs and kisses to our kids, just not to each other, therefore our boys don't see typical displays of caring and love that I notice with some other married parents. I think I've become this way as a way to cope with my resentment and anger towards my husband, and I want to not be his wife, but can't get past the pain I would cause our sons, so try to get along with DH best I can. What damage am I doing to our children, would divorce be equally as bad? Or better than having parents that are "just there"? DH and I are unhappy together, I'm guessing, because we are not a good fit. Married (I don't know how) 16 years.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Will by boys grow up to be disaffectionate husbands?

Do you think your marriage could be healed with therapy and hard work? Is your husband basically a good person who you like and respect? A good father? Is it just a case of 'apples and oranges' and not dishonesty, cheating, addiction or abuse? If you like and respect him, and believe he is a kind and trustworthy person, then I think it's worth the effort to try to improve your marriage and, if it's not too long until your kids are grown, to stick it out until they're off to college if you're not actually fighting.

But if he's not a good person or not a good role model, then leaving now could be the only way to show your children what not to tolerate. Only you know for sure what they're seeing...


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RE: Will by boys grow up to be disaffectionate husbands?

From my personal view, the best thing would be to get out, with the warning that if they kids are old enough, they could already have assumed the characteristics that you don't care for in your husband (and in yourself).

I stayed far too long "for the sake of the children" and I believe it was a huge mistake. I should have been a better role model instead of a doormat.


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RE: Will my boys grow up to be unaffectionate husbands?

Thank you both for responding. Sweeby, you also responded to my other post on the marriage forum, where a good friend pointed out to me that I focused too much on my husband's going out with a drinking buddy , and didn't show the fact he must have a lot of issues he needs to deal with. But many people figured that out, and how he tries to self medicate his pain with alcohol.

I would love to give therapy and hard work a try, but dh does not believe in that. He doesn't think there is anything wrong with how he thinks or behaves. Secretly, I look back on our marriage and suspect he's been dealing with manic behavior or depression, he's gone through periods where something good might take place (business opportunity) and he's higher than a kite, then it fell through and he's totally crushed, then maybe it'll work and he's 'up' and energized, then if fell through again, and he's depressed. It didn't seem to me to be just regular excitement and then disappointment, but more extreme on both sides. Life or death. This was just a business opportunity. Or maybe he never developed the skills to work with disappointments?

Regardless, I am in a situation where I feel I have to swallow what he gives, and whatever it was that I had that allowed me to 'forget' and move on (my resentment probably has come from never resolving our issues) is slowly getting used up, I don't think I can last.

The only reason I want to stick it out is for the kids, but if I knew they were being harmed (for their possible future relationships when they're grown up) I would leave. Heck, if I won a million in the Lottery tomorrow I could give dh 1/2 and leave and not expect anything from our assets. If we didn't have children this conversation wouldn't be happening, I can't say I love him for him anymore, just the love and caring because he is the dad to our kids. Does that make sense?


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RE: Will by boys grow up to be disaffectionate husbands?

Nofaves, perhaps you could get some individual counseling that might give you some insight in to the impact of parental relationships on offspring and the benefits (if any) of staying in a marriage or getting out. It's hard when your spouse refuses to acknowledge there is a problem.


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RE: Will by boys grow up to be disaffectionate husbands?

Well, to get down to brass tacks, then 'Yes' they're being harmed by watching you stay in a bad marriage and by watching their father respond to life the way he does. But then, they would also be harmed by a divorce and possible future step-parenting situation. So there's no easy answer.

Even if your husband won't go, going to counseling yourself sounds like it might really help. It might help you judge how harmful it is for them to stay, how harmful (and how healthy) it would be for them to see you leave (and take them, of course).

How old are your kids?


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RE: Will by boys grow up to be disaffectionate husbands?

Like NJTea, I stayed in a marriage for far too long. Like sweeby, I don't see an easy answer. Although I hear what you're saying about if there weren't kids, then the answer would be easy and you already wouldn't be there.

I agree that a good therapist (with an emphasis on "good" because there are all kinds) might be helpful.

I don't think there is an easy answer as to whether staying or leaving will hurt kids more. There can be an argument for either result. No matter what you do.

I will say, speaking for myself, that I wish I had left sooner. I stayed because I thought I should stay and when I finally did leave, no one thanked me for staying that extra time. I think that in general I would suggest doing what you most need to do for yourself. But that can be hard to do when you are a concientous good person who wants to do the right thing.

I don't think that your marriage will cause your sons to grow up to be disaffectionate. Although if they marry the wrong person and stay married to her, then yes, they might become disaffectionate. I think becoming disaffectionate happens to many completely normal people when they do that.

I think that your interest in seeing a therapist is normal and healthy and that it makes sense for you to do that no matter what your husband does or thinks.

Also, if he drinks a lot, I recommend that you go to the 12 step group Al anon.


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RE: Will by boys grow up to be disaffectionate husbands?

I guess your son's could end up with really demonstrative girls. They would then learn how to treat that person in an affectionate way.

How old are the boys ?

Consider your own happiness, in all of this. Do you want to look back on your days, and weep for the unhappiness you felt ? Perhaps you can develop your interests a bit more, and have some fun out on your own, with friends. This will make you a happier person overall.

Good luck with it all.

POPI


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RE: Will by boys grow up to be disaffectionate husbands?

Popi's response reminded me of the event that caused me to reexamine my remaining in my first marriage. I had been married for 15 years in 1981 when a friend of mine died of cancer. She had had cancer for two years. She was unhappily married. Prior to being diagnosed with cancer she had talked of leaving her husband some day when her young son was older. But then she became sick and died.

That caused me to realize how short life is and to question why I "should" remain in a relationship which I knew, in my heart, was not good. Her death was the catalyst that moved me in the direction of leaving. It still took me another year and a half to get myself out the door. But I did finally manage to leave and get on with my life.

I add my wishes to you for the strength to make a decision that is in your own best interests. Sometimes it makes sense to put yourself first. For one thing, who else is going to put you first if you don't put yourself first? Would you want your sons to stay in a marriage under the same circumstances?


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RE: Will by boys grow up to be disaffectionate husbands?

My college roommate grew up with parents living that kind of relationship. She said her parents didn't scream and fight, but they didn't have a relationship beyond living in the same house. Her father was even an alcoholic. Without being explicitly told, she knew her entire growing up years that her mother stayed in a very unhappy situation "for the children." The week after my roommate graduated from college her mother finally filed for divorce. My roommate said she wished her mother would have done it much sooner, it was a relief to her to know her mother was no longer miserable for her benefit. She wished her mother had known her misery was in vain, no one benefited.

On another note, my roommate has never married. She doesn't have any faith in the idea of marriage or a committed relationship.


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RE: Will by boys grow up to be disaffectionate husbands?

"Without being explicitly told, she knew her entire growing up years that her mother stayed in a very unhappy situation "for the children." "

Stephanie, you hit a nail right square on the head with that statement. Children ALWAYS know when something is not right in a family, when there is unhappiness, when they are not being told the truth about a particular situation.


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RE: Will by boys grow up to be disaffectionate husbands?

Thank you everyone for being so kind and gentle with your words. The boys are early teen and a tween, and Njtea, thanks for the reminder that not only may they perhaps pick up undesireable traits from their dad, but from me also, because I suspect I've developed traits that I would use for coping with the situation, but they probably are not relationship positive traits that someone in a more equal and open marriage would use.

And Popi, your idea of developing more friends and outside interests is something I feel I've subconciously avoided. I view myself as someone 'hanging' around waiting for dh to make time for me, and getting angry about when that doesn't occur or doesn't occur frequently enough, like I'm allowing life to happen for me, instead of making it happen for me. I guess I am scared it would lead to more distance between us, but now looking at it, what we have had so far hasn't been too great overall, I can't be doing the same thing over and over if I don't like the results. If I want change in my family, then there has to be change in how I do things. Making myself happier would make me a happier mom for the kids, and a stronger person to either move forward on my own with them and dh, or without dh.

There will be an outcome to all this, both (staying or leaving) will have an effect on the kids, but I guess our hurdles and events that happen to us are what make us the persons we become? I think I've been viewing this as it would be 100% my blame for hurting the kids, and I have to remember that I am only 1/2 of this relationship, so I should cut my guilt by 1/2, right?

When I posed this question (which I'd mispelled, sorry I was tired) I think deep down I already knew what the answer was for me (that it's not good and I want better, with or without dh) but I so appreciate your words, and helping me to see other perspectives and considerations in this. Some days I feel like the fight is over and I've lost, other days I think hey, I'm still breathing, and I ain't quittin' till I can get what I want. Thanks again everyone, hugs to you all.


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RE: Will by boys grow up to be disaffectionate husbands?

As you examine your life, and think about how this will affect you and your children, spend the time and read the step parent forum from beginning to end. Understand that the decisions you make now, will affect you and your children for years to come. Thirty and forty year old adult children, are still having serious issues with their parent and his new wife.
Understand that if you divorce, that your children will have visitation without you around, but perhaps your husband may have a girlfriend or new wife around, whose influence you may, or may not like. She may have new children with your husband, and resent your kids being there. You are about to go through those "teen" years, that can test any parent beyond what they ever imagined. Do you want to go through this with their father by your side, or on your own, with an angry ex-husband, who may be unwilling to help you if the road gets really rocky?


As I read the step parent forum, and listen to the new step mothers, or girl friends about the bio-moms, things can get pretty ugly. Some of these bio moms were the ones who wanted out, only to find the grass was not greener on the other side. As you read the posts, you will begin to understand the basic struggle between two women, who have a role in the lives of your children. If you read the forum, you will hear most of these new step mothers talk about how horrible the bio moms are. Were the bio moms always horrible, or does the situation of two women trying to parent bring out the worst in both women?

Somewhere, there must be situations where it works. It does not appear to be on this forum, nor those I know in my life. And yet, I know lovely women who are divorced mothers. And as I read the step parent forum, I wonder if their ex's new wife makes them out to be awful, because she needs her to be. Does the new wife feel threatened, and therefor bad mouthing her new husbands former wife? Or does this new woman in the bio moms children's life, just bring out the worst in the bio mom, as she feels she is now competing for her own children's affection? Does the new wife get to come of looking like the "fun" mom, while the other is left with the hard role of "parent" who can come off looking like the bad guy? Does dad now not hold kids accountable for behavior, because he wants to be the "good/fun" parent, or does he rarely see them at all anymore?

I do not want to sound discouraging. Any yet, when I read the step parent forum, it "is" discouraging. And I wonder if the bio moms who wanted the divorces in the first place, didn't trade in one set of problems, for a whole new set (bigger than she ever dreamed) with far greater consequences? If she had it to do over, would she still think it was a good idea?

Perhaps both you and your DH should each spend the time on your own, and read the step parent forum. And then you should take a long walk or drive, or weekend away together and talk. Start with the positive things that you like about one another. (You can each jot them down ahead of time). And then, share the disappointment, the pain, the lack of what you both need from each other. The misunderstandings that lead to resentment? Can you find a way to change this marriage into something that meets your needs. Can you save this family? What can you each do that would slowly turn this around, and give you glimpses of hope for a happier tomorrow?

There are many good weekend marriage conferences if you search on line. Perhaps one would help you to get started. There are also excellent marriage books "on DVD/Tape" if he will not yet consider counseling.

If you talk to him about counseling, don't go with the attitude that you need to "fix him", but with the attitude that you want to make your marriage one of the great ones! And if you can find a "good" therapist (there are many not so good ones out there) go in with that attitude.

Find ways to "play together" and have some fun as a family.

I do not want to sound discouraging. And yet, as I read the step parent forum, it "is" discouraging. As you make these decisions that will affect you and your children for years to come, I want to encourage you to look at it without the rose colored glasses, and have your eyes wide open.


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How will divorce affect my children?

As you examine your life, and think about how this will affect you and your children, spend the time and read the step parent forum from beginning to end. Understand that the decisions you make now, will affect you and your children for years to come. Thirty and forty year old adult children, are still having serious issues with their parent and his new wife.
Understand that if you divorce, that your children will have visitation without you around, but perhaps your husband may have a girlfriend or new wife around, whose influence you may, or may not like. She may have new children with your husband, and resent your kids being there. You are about to go through those "teen" years, that can test any parent beyond what they ever imagined. Do you want to go through this with their father by your side, or on your own, with an angry ex-husband, who may be unwilling to help you if the road gets really rocky?


As I read the step parent forum, and listen to the new step mothers, or girl friends about the bio-moms, things can get pretty ugly. Some of these bio moms were the ones who wanted out, only to find the grass was not greener on the other side. As you read the posts, you will begin to understand the basic struggle between two women, who have a role in the lives of your children. If you read the forum, you will hear most of these new step mothers talk about how horrible the bio moms are. Were the bio moms always horrible, or does the situation of two women trying to parent bring out the worst in both women?

Somewhere, there must be situations where it works. It does not appear to be on this forum, nor those I know in my life. And yet, I know lovely women who are divorced mothers. And as I read the step parent forum, I wonder if their ex's new wife makes them out to be awful, because she needs her to be. Does the new wife feel threatened, and therefor bad mouthing her new husbands former wife? Or does this new woman in the bio moms children's life, just bring out the worst in the bio mom, as she feels she is now competing for her own children's affection? Does the new wife get to come of looking like the "fun" mom, while the other is left with the hard role of "parent" who can come off looking like the bad guy? Does dad now not hold kids accountable for behavior, because he wants to be the "good/fun" parent, or does he rarely see them at all anymore? It seems that even when bio mom remarries, there is still so much conflict between the new wife and herself.

I do not want to sound discouraging. Any yet, when I read the step parent forum, it "is" discouraging. And I wonder if the bio moms who wanted the divorces in the first place, didn't trade in one set of problems, for a whole new set (bigger than she ever dreamed) with far greater consequences? If she had it to do over, would she still think it was a good idea?

Perhaps both you and your DH should each spend the time on your own, and read the step parent forum. And then you should take a long walk or drive, or weekend away together and talk. Start with the positive things that you like about one another. (You can each jot them down ahead of time). And then, share the disappointment, the pain, the lack of what you both need from each other. The misunderstandings that lead to resentment? Can you find a way to change this marriage into something that meets your needs. Can you save this family? What can you each do that would slowly turn this around, and give you glimpses of hope for a happier tomorrow?

There are many good weekend marriage conferences if you search on line. Perhaps one would help you to get started. There are also excellent marriage books "on DVD/Tape" if he will not yet consider counseling.

If you talk to him about counseling, don't go with the attitude that you need to "fix him", but with the attitude that you want to make your marriage one of the great ones! And if you can find a "good" therapist (there are many not so good ones out there) go in with that attitude.

Find ways to "play together" and have some fun as a family.

I do not want to sound discouraging. And yet, as I read the step parent forum, it "is" discouraging. As you make these decisions that will affect you and your children for years to come, I want to encourage you to look at it without the rose colored glasses, and have your eyes wide open.


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RE: Will by boys grow up to be disaffectionate husbands?

I think it depends what the problems are. If your DH really has a drinking problem -- that would be a hard thing to live with. If you just don't love him because he gets on your nerves, is too fat, doesn't kiss you enought, etc... -- not a good reason to divorce.

I have seen divorce mess up a lot of kids. They are suddenly shuttled back in forth between two homes, they have to deal with dad's new girlfriend (you know it will happen) or mom's new boyfriend and almost all divorced parents that I know do not get along well. Remarriage is great for adults but usally pretty bad for kids. My own sister just loved her step-daughter before they got married -- now she is a pre-teen and they have HUGE issues and resentment between them. I am happy to hear you are considering your children before making such a life-altering decision.

Is your husband a good father to your boys? If so, will it crush them if he becomes their "weekend dad"?


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RE: Will by boys grow up to be disaffectionate husbands?

Thanks again for your thoughtful responses, I have more to think about. This is a way bigger decision than I could ever imagine, looking back at the verbal and emotional abuse I allowed to happen, I'm sure I tried to tolerate it for what I thought was the better welfare of our kids. Yet they have nothing to do with this.

I feel I need to stop this thread from continuing, since I see the tone is becoming more a marriage issue than parenting, and I do not wish to offend the patrons of this forum. Your help is appreciated, I have even more thinking to do on this (action would be better). I had a weak hope that I would hear back from many that with open communication and demonstrations of love between the parent and kid, that they would not notice the lack of it between parents...I'm not giving those kids enough credit. Please take care.


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