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post #16 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

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Please give him a chance to see the truth and your feelings. He probably doesn't even know you are unhappy. The only way he would know is if you tell him. Have you told him? Men are built differently we have to be taught love. It's not something we get like women do.
I've told him, I've written to him, I've told him how I feel, how the kids feel, and any single time I do that he shuts down, puts up a huge defensive wall, and turns away from me. Short of putting up a huge billboard in our front yard, I have no other idea how to get through to him.

Communication in a marriage is a two-way street, yet he refuses to talk to me. The last time I tried to tell him how I felt (not saying anything bad or mean or negative, just focusing on how I felt, very carefully wording things), he said "I'm just not an emotional person." And that was the end of the conversation, done, finished, end of story. I may as well have run head-on into a concrete wall.

As far as giving him a chance... that's all I've been doing for the past nine years. I've told him how much I appreciate his job, which allows me to only work part time. I tell him how much I appreciate things he does around the house. I tell him the kids feel invisible to him and that they wish he would spend more time with him. I talk to him rationally, being honest but not all emotional and upset myself. I'm not an emotional, gushy, crying, overwrought female, so that's not what turns him off. He is simply incapable of talking about anything that makes him the least teensy bit uncomfortable, and he shuts down.

So yes, I've tried, I get 1 million freaking gold stars for trying... and trying... and trying, and every single time I end up at the same dead end street.

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post #17 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 05:58 AM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Amen Avalon! I was just going to respond the same way. I too have been writing, talking, not talking etc.

I think after all this time I have reached my limit of playing the "how can I help you show basic affection, attention and love" game. After 17 years you either do or you don't.

In my case what is so hard is by having really good couple friends who live just up the street is I see pretty much every day how caring and involved other husbands are. I also see mine put on such a show for them and see it turn off like a switch when they are not around. To me, that reveals A LOT!

I do think he tries a bit harder with the girls in our situation compared to yours. He just does it so passively and what involvement he does have is primarily with our middle daughter. That in and of itself has created hurt feelings and resentment between the girls.

My big concern is this example is setting up all three girls to become involved with men who are emotionally distant and they feel they have to constantly work to "earn" their love and support. Not a good or fofilling way to live. Not what I want for them let alone myself.

Last edited by nnoodle; 07-11-2011 at 06:03 AM. Reason: grammer
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post #18 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 06:08 AM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Avalon, you can't live your life any longer like that. I think you would be wise to move on and know you have exhausted your self trying to do everything you can.

Good luck.
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post #19 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 06:37 AM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

And when I say uninvolved in our life let me cite a few examples:

1. buying our first home. He was too busy with work to even house hunt with me. We signed closing documents on our home and he had NEVER seen it.

2. Baby 3, when I was in labor, he didn't want to miss a work meeting so I drove MYSELF to the hospital. It was an hour drive and I had the other 2 kids with me.

3. When we brought baby #3 home, he invited an out of town guest to stay overnight that very day. The men napped while I made food and took care of the kids less than 24 hrs after giving birth.

4. When we had family issues (on my side which he witnessed) and my mom wanted to talk with him about what he experienced in the situation, he refused. Said he didn't want to get involved....nice.

5. almost missed our eldest daughters graduation ceremoney because he didn't want to miss a meeting 2 hrs away. Thankfully our friends visiting from out of town went to get our daughter flowers, because of course, my husband never thought of it. (despite my note reminding him) In fact, the whole graduation weekend was a debacle of how can I (the husband) not be of any help at all when we have out of town guests, a party and all the set up/prep to do. I ended up calling neighbors and friends to help because I couldn't do it all and he was too busy.

6. The house. My husband does nothing around the house, including maitenence. I do it. When something breaks down I cannot fix, I hire people or ask for help. Somehow this has led to a busybody neighbor passing around the idea I have affairs with handymen. My husband has never once confronted this idiot. I have. My husband literally said "if it doesn't bother me, why should it bother you?" Hello? Defend your wife!

None of this even touches the many times his family was downright nasty to me. He never defended me, just stopped talking to them. Its now been 13 yrs and they still blame me for his distance. Little do they know, its totally his choice. But I guess for him its easier to have the blame rest on me. Like pretty much everything else.

His favorite sayings are "You'll get nothing and like it" and "It doesn't bother me so what is the problem". He lives what he says. How do I counter that?

So yes, I have more issues than just emotional distance. I have years of neglect, passivity, carelessness and isolation. I try to put these feelings in a compartment and focus on my girls but lately it is getting really, really difficult.

The kicker is ,like you Avalon, I am not a super needy/emotional woman. I can't afford to be.
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post #20 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 08:33 AM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Sorry, I should have reread your story more before making a post.

It sounds like you've been a great mother a far bette wife that he has been a husband.

I think the best chance you can give him is moving out or seriously threatening to.
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post #21 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

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I also see mine put on such a show for them and see it turn off like a switch when they are not around. To me, that reveals A LOT!

My big concern is this example is setting up all three girls to become involved with men who are emotionally distant and they feel they have to constantly work to "earn" their love and support. Not a good or fofilling way to live. Not what I want for them let alone myself.
Yep, you nailed it! My friends and the neighbors say "He's not that bad!" But they don't see him immediately race back to his computer the minute the front door is closed. They don't see how, when on the days he works from home, he cannot even bother to say "Bye, have a good day" to his own children when they leave for school. Heck, he doesn't even know when they've gone.

This is fun... feels good to get it out, Let's see:
1. when the kids were little he'd go to be early on Christmas Even, never lifting a finger to help out on what should be a magical time for little kids.

2. He has never once in his life thought of or chosen or bought a birthday present for his kids.

3. In the last 5 years he has had not one single form of contact with any of the kids' teachers. They go to a super-small school, only 5 teachers, so everyone knows everyone very well. Doesn't know their names, until last year didn't even know WHERE they went to school, and didn't care.

4. Kids can't ask friends over when he's home because he goes to bed early and they're too loud. For crying out loud, they're teenagers! And my kids' friends are all very respectful, kind, responsible kids too. But nope, don't have friends over if he's home.

5. We went on a trip to Europe this spring, the trip of a lifetime for my kids! Unfortunately, husband went too, even after I told him that he probably wouldn't enjoy himself and to honestly think about it before committing to it (that was the last time I TRIED to talk to him honestly and he shut me down again). He spent 12 days absolutely freaked-out miserable on our trip, and since we got back he has not said one thing about it. With something like that, I should be able to "re-live" the trip with my spouse, talk about how fun it was, look at photos together and laugh, etc. Nope... he just doesn't talk about it, like it never happened.

6. I already mentioned withholding medical care when my daughter broke her wrist and I was out of town, letting her sit at home with a fractured bone for 2 days before I could get home to deal with it.

7. Daughter has a sleep disorder that she was born with, and it impacts literally every day of her life, as well as the rest of the family, and a major impact on school. Husband doesn't even know the name of the disorder, much less anything about it or managing it. Doesn't know what medications she's tried and failed, has absolutely no regard for her daily schedule (which isn't normal, obviously) or how that impacts her social life or her schooling. Many kids who have this disorder never graduate from high school, but my daughter gets almost straight A's, thanks to some fantastic teachers and my willingness to work around her crazy schedule.

The list goes on... and by now probably nobody is reading it anymore, but it just feels good to get it all out in the open. I've talked with my girls, and they agree that once we get through the next few hectic (but fun) weeks this summer, we're going to sit him down and tell him one last time how we all feel. If he doesn't respond or isn't willing to try to open up and talk to us, then we're done.

Nnoodle - I think we should both take off on a week-long cruise together, be spoiled rotten, have little fruity drinks with umbrellas in them, and get back to living our lives! Oh, a girl can dream, right?
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post #22 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

And seriously.... you drove yourself to the hospital with 2 other kids in the car while you were in labor? Excuse me?!?!?!? IMO, that is complete and utter negligence on your husband's part. That is just ridiculous!
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post #23 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 12:04 PM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Avalon:

ditto on #1, 2, 3.

4. kinda. He is nice to the kids when they are over (does the goodfy dad act) but never helps. He usually disappears around 9ish to go watch tv. The girls actually like having their friends over because then he has to keep up appearances.

I do think our friends are starting to see through some of the act, especially the guys. They have noted how rarely yard work gets done, that I do plumbing repairs, kitchen redos, staining and painting alone etc. When we talk about home projects, I am the one with hints and advice. Plus the tool knowledge.

5. rarely vacation so not as much a big deal. I was a gs leader for years so many, many weekends I had the girls away camping/hiking/traveling. He spent the weekends home alone doing nothing.

6. My daughter got into a bad car accident. He stayed home and I drove to the scene by myself.

7. My eldest daughter's graduation was a big deal. She has learning disablities (which of course he never had to deal with) that made school a huge challenge. To say I was proud of her acomplishments is an understatement. He really didn't seem to know or care what a big deal it was for her or how hard she worked for it.

8. Did I mention he didn't teach her how to drive? He said he just didn't have the patience for her. So of course. That too fell on me....


As to going away: sounds dreamy. The big problem? Who would take care of the kids and dog were I to go? HIM? lol.....yeah right. Ahhh. nothing better than a mate to rely on...

My favorite: one of my friends told me I was too capable. Her suggestion was to start acting more helpless and maybe he would step up.
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post #24 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 12:10 PM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

As for the labor issue: It was one of those things where in the moment you do what you have to do at the time. Looking back, it was nuts. Again, same girlfriend said that I seemed to do pregnancy and labor so easily he probably had no comprehension what a stupid move it was on his part.

Again, that feeds back into his utter lack of awareness of other people, their needs or feelings.
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post #25 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-13-2011, 12:41 AM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

7. Daughter has a sleep disorder that she was born with, and it impacts literally every day of her life, as well as the rest of the family, and a major impact on school. Husband doesn't even know the name of the disorder, much less anything about it or managing it. Doesn't know what medications she's tried and failed, has absolutely no regard for her daily schedule (which isn't normal, obviously) or how that impacts her social life or her schooling. Many kids who have this disorder never graduate from high school, but my daughter gets almost straight A's, thanks to some fantastic teachers and my willingness to work around her crazy schedule.

Avalon,

if you don't mind me asking what type of sleeping disorder does your daughter have? I feel that you are writing my life without us knowing each other....

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post #26 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-13-2011, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

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if you don't mind me asking what type of sleeping disorder does your daughter have? I feel that you are writing my life without us knowing each other....
She has DSPS (delayed sleep phase syndrome) which I think is slowly turning into N-24 (non-24 hours per day). Basically, her brain has no clue when it's night or day. Any cues that would tell a normal person that it's time to wake up or it's time to get sleepy don't work for her. She normally cannot fall asleep until 4 to 6 a.m., even if she does everything right. She's had sleep studies at a major hospital. She has tried and failed 5 different sleep medications, including doses that could knock a 300-pound man flat on his butt... it has literally NO effect on the part of her brain that tells her to be sleepy. Obviously, she cannot go to a normal school if she's not falling asleep until 6 a.m.

N-24 is when a person's body doesn't work on a 24-hour clock, usually 25 or 26 hours per day, so each day they are able to fall asleep at a longer interval than 24 hours, eventually lapping their way around the clock.

She goes to a very small public school that works on an alternative schedule, and even then the teachers are excellent about working around where she is in her sleep cycle at any given time. Thus... my inability to work full time, or to work outside the home, if my daughter has any hope whatsoever of graduating from high school. I basically home school her about 75% of her classes, in conjunction with her teachers' help. And this happens daily at any given time on the clock when her brain is awake and receptive to learning and understanding and doing the work.

Getting back to the marriage thing... I don't think my husband even knows the name of her sleep disorder, much less the medications she has tried, how many doctor visits she has had, kept track of her daily sleep log, or God forbid try to understand or work around her absolutely crazy sleep/wake schedule so that she can successfully finish high school.
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post #27 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-13-2011, 06:24 AM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Avalon,

I've read your post with interest, but it sounds like you are charting the best course possible, so I didn't know what to add.

Do you think that his going to Europe was in some way his attempt to grab a rope to the ship before it passed him by? I can't help but think that he'll be a future poster here, wondering how he lost his wife.

My own wife and I have struggled to connect in the last few years, but I can't imagine not being close to the things that are going on in the lives of my children. I'm the one they go to when they just need to vent. My daughter just needs to talk, and I can't keep up with so many of the feelings that she expresses, but I just sit in wonder, amazed that I get a chance to be a part of this phase in her life. My son, however, is a tougher egg to crack. With me, he wants to appear manly, so he'll usually start talking after he forgets the aura he is trying to project.

What your kids missed by not having two parents involved is simply tragic. You've done an awesome job, but I just understand that your frustration and pain are complex.

I'm hoping that you'll find personal happiness one day. In the end, your kids will want to see this for you when their own lives move on to independence.
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post #28 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-13-2011, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Halien - thanks I see what you mean about our trip to Europe. It was in no way a "test" to see what he would do. It was my wanting to experience something with my kids that they have always wanted to do, before they get through high school and move on with their lives.

I wish H had had a good time, I wish he had been able to relax and enjoy himself, because it was truly a trip of a lifetime for my kids and I. I wish that I could "relive" the experiences we had together by looking at photos and sitting down and talking about the things we did and saw. But when we got home, it was immediately back to the computer and hiding inside his shell

I'm past the anger and resentment and disappointment. I truly don't want to see him be alone and isolated for the rest of his life, but at this point it's his choice and I can't live the rest of my life that way. The thought of spending the next 30 or 40 years watching him sit on his butt hiding from the world and his own family absolutely terrifies me and makes me feel smothered.

Here's how far this has gone... I had a great talk with my daughter the other day while we were out on a little hike together. We were talking about some over-the-top wedding we saw on a TV show, and she said she would want to do something much less informal, like barefoot on a beach. I said "That's great, I'll be there!" Then she got very serious and point blank told me that if/when she gets married, she does not want her own father to be at her wedding. That hit me like a concrete block to the head. Granted, she's a 16 year old, hormonal teenager, but that just shows the depth of apathy that H has shown to his own children over the years.

I hope that my husband can find happiness some day. I pray that he doesn't spend the rest of his life alone, because nobody deserves that. But he has to CHOOSE happiness and a fulfilling life for himself. Through these past years, I've chosen to get up every single day and do something worthwhile with my life. I've chosen to be the best parent that I possibly can to my kids. I've chosen to live my life and do the things that I love to do, like going hiking or gardening, or spending time with friends and family, or teaching one of my kids' friends how to bake because she asked me to, or going on school field trips with my kids. Living a fulfilling life is a choice. I'm not talking about money or a great job, I'm talking about interacting with people and being important in other people's lives.

OK... obviously I've had a bit toooooo much caffeine this morning LOL! Gonna go play with my sister's doggies for a while and breathe in some fresh air
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post #29 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-13-2011, 11:50 AM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Avalon---10 months ago. I was your husband. If you review my post history, you will see some pretty impactful stuff. Men can change. Quickly I might add.

Reading your posts are VERY hard for me. It reminds me of what my wife has felt.

Last edited by Dedicated2Her; 07-13-2011 at 11:58 AM.
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post #30 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-13-2011, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Dedicated2 - thank you for your honesty and input. I'll definitely read your posts to try to see things from a different perspective I'm sorry that my posts are hard for you, but at least you're here talking and telling people how you feel, that is HUGE and gives me some hope.
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