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post #46 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 12:55 PM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

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Dedicated2Her - Very inspiring post, I think it would work for most wives. But I tried that years ago, the fighting grew to borderline violence. She believes that there is only one way, one decider and that is it. My oldest was having trouble in school. She is a morning person like me, my wife is a night owl. I suggested our daughter do her homework right after school when she was fresh and full of energy, she has trouble focusing in the evening. Wife wanted her to "wind down" and do it later. I asserted myself demanding to at least try it, she was willing to get a divorce if necessary to stop me from having our daughter do her home work after school! What can you do with that? She was berated as a child and now sees any compromise as a defeat. I might try it again, but she never gives in and I don't want her to get a restraining order. I'm just a silent roommate at this point.
Hmmm. So basically, your choices at this point are these: 1. walk away 2. Start looking for ways and implementing concentrating on developing yourself 3. Really develop your relationship with God and use every moment of time that you have around her to show her the love of Christ

I chose 2 and 3. I really don't want the mother of my children to be miserable. I want her to experience the freedom that I have found in my identity in Christ. My feelings or emotions are subservient to biblical action which makes me happy even when I'm doing something totally selfless. It may be worth it, it may not. At the end of the day, you want to live a life without regret. At least that is my goal.

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post #47 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

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If I tried to express an opinion she would get defensive and argue, seemingly to he death if necessary. I grew alarmed as she started controlling everything, and any time I tried to get involved as a father or husband and it deviated from her plan or schedule she would argue.
I thought that as the girls got bigger our marriage would come back into the picture. But she became increasingly more controlling and less tolerant of my input. Oh I could "participate", but she made the schedule, she decided on everything. If I tried to have an opinion she would simply say "do if your self then".
At the same time she complained that I was not helping, not participating.
In this case I can see how you would withdraw, I would do the same thing too. As I've said before, it takes only so many times of beating your head against a brick wall to realize that it hurts and that the brick wall isn't going to budge.

In my case, we USED to do things as a family all the time, my husband USED to be a great father and enjoy spending time with his kids. I've been working part time from home for 9+ years now, so I'm also contributing financially to the family.

Here's where our downward cycle started: As my husband got deeper and deeper into his Internet addiction, he became more and more withdrawn from family participation. He stopped going to kids sporting events, he stopped helping out with things like birthday parties and school work and other family events. He stopped caring or participating in school events, all because he would rather be with his computer than with his family. In turn, because he stopped doing "parenting things" that he had been doing, I picked up more and more responsibility for our children on a daily basis. The more I did (somebody has to!!!), the more it gave him a reason to participate less and less, and the more and more decisions and responsibility I ended up having on my shoulders.

In the last 6 or 7 years, my husband has not participated in one single school or healthcare or parenting decision, not one, even though I have asked... I've asked him to help with school projects, I've asked him what he thinks would be fun to do together as a family, and he just sits in front of his computer, while I single-parent two teens in a 22-year marriage.

He has gone as far as withholding medical care in an emergency while I was out of town. He didn't see the need to put his daughter with a fractured bone in the car and drive her to the doctor or hospital. He let her sit at home for 2 days in pain with a fractured arm until I got home to deal with it. Now THAT is severe withdrawal from parenting, IMO.

Wow... it's interesting seeing things from two different points of view, isn't it?
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post #48 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 08:42 PM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Avalon - we used to do things together too and I would spend time with the kids, I was busy with work and she recently started work part time. All I ever wanted was to have a part in the decision making about parenting, activities anything. But my wife felt that since she was the person doing "everything" she should be calling the shots. Like you, she said I was addicted to the Internet, but it was an escape from the frustration and misery of my watching her raise my kids while I could only be involved as a participant rather than a coparent. She never saw it that way, as I withdrew she said that if she didn't decide everything then nothing would happen and so it spiraled down that path. After spending the last ten years in and out of marriage counseling she still insists that it's her way or I can do it myself. She still believes that she should be the decider on everything and after dealing with the arguing all the time in front of the kids (she says its me of course) I just slithered away. We are not divorced yet and she wants to stay married so she gets the health insurance and also because my income won't pay for two households, also we would probably both loose our good credit standing. She just doesn't want to deal with me butting in with my unwanted opinions, oh and my needing her attention ( dating, sex and that annoying time she gives up to spend together rather than with the kids) it's funny, all the soccer, girl scouts, 4H, rainbow, horse camp, etc pales as a lesson to your kids in comparison to showing them a happy healthy relationship between their parents. But she disagrees, hovering over the kids is her only joy and purpose.
She readily agreed when I said I wanted to date, and now I spend little time online, I'm sleeping like a baby for the first time in years, there are women out there that actually enjoy my company, sense of humor and think intimacy is not a burden. Most of all, I am more emotionally available for my kids, but as divorce as an option becomes more of a reality I am very sad that our kids now will learn to walk away, the family, marriage all destroyed. So sad, but she insists that I just didn't participate, was addicted to Internet and was controlling. She admits she always got her way, but it's what she had to put up with she says was the problem.
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post #49 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 10:43 AM
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Unhappy Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Wow. it's amazing so many people here are having similar problems. My story:

Largely the same...detached husband who has detached more throughout the years as problems increased. We're in a pretty bad financial state and when we talk about it he either nods and looks overwhelmed or just leaves the room.

After about 3 years of doing the back and forth--getting mad and feeling abandoned to accepting this is my life so suck it up--i finally decided i'd rather be alone. i asked him to leave and stuck with it (have done it twice before and got told i was overreacting and being absurd). I told him it was not a discussion, i was done living this way and if he wanted to work on it to set up some counseling appointments and i'll be there.

That did kick his butt into gear and we have been working with a great counselor that says we need to actively break our destructive patterns of engagement and find our connection again. The last two sessions he has asked us to stare into each other's eyes, sit close and talk from the heart about how we feel. i had a chance to tell him how his detachment makes me feel that he doesn't love me and wishes we hadn't gotten married. He finally took some responsibility and cried, hard. i have NEVER seen that side of him. It proved to me that there is something in there and maybe we can bring it out.

Downside--between appointments we still deal with the day to day challenges. He picks up the kids from summer camp and hangs out at our house and feeds them dinner until i get home from work. In this setting he snaps back into his patterns of detachment and sullenness and i get infuriated. Not to mention the dishes and kid stuff he leaves in his wake when he leaves.
i'm wondering if i continue to work on it, will we ever get somewhere for real? Will the burden ever be borne by us equally and can i ever forgive him for the stack of frustrations and resentments I'm sitting on?

Sorry this is so long but that's how i got to this advice--i think you have to separate to see how "in this" he wants to be. There is something going on with him and he's hiding from it. He is also not living his best life and you are in the position of "enabler". Maybe the kids can get their dad back if he's forced to confront how his behavior is destroying his family.

He probably will blame you/my husband sure did at first, still does i guess. But you can't move forward in the spot you are at.
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post #50 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 10:48 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Audrina - Thanks for your reply, I totally understand the years of back and forth, from "I hate this" to "It's not that bad, suck it up and deal with it", over and over like a ping pong ball.

I just came home from 4 days camping with my girls and a bunch of their friends, and had a fantastic time with all of my "kids".

Husband: "How was the trip?" (not looking at me, and said with complete boredom in his voice like he really doesn't care whether we had a good time or not).
Me: "Fine, weather wasn't great but we had a really good time."
Husband: "I see you put a new big scratch in the bed of the truck." (it's 15 years old and the entire bed is already scratched up!)
Me: I stare at him, turn around and walk away.
End of conversation.

On another note... his mother is doing very poorly, his siblings have called to talk to him about it and have sent emails. He only sees his parents once every 4 months or so, even though we easily live close enough to drive there and back in a day.

Me: "Are you going to see your parents this weekend, from your brothers it doesn't sound like she's doing well at all?"
Husband: "Nope. I'm planning on going next month."
Me: "She may not be alive next month."
Husband: mutters something we can't hear....
Daughter (mad as heck at hearing this conversation so far): "Dad, when are you going to go help take care of your parents?!?!?!"
Husband: "Eventually."
My kids are soooo dang mad at him right now, seeing how he has completely neglected his elderly parents who really need his help now.

OK, I'm done venting, just wanted to get the last day worth of "conversation" off my chest. I have no desire to spend the next 30 or 40 years of my life with someone who simply doesn't give a darn about anything.
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post #51 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 11:21 AM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

I again have to strongly suggest the book love must be tough. Currently he faces not no consequences for being like this other than you guys being mad, which he just tunes out.

I really think if you moved out, you might see a huge change in him. Its actually your only chance. He is numb to everything else you throw at him.
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post #52 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 08:49 AM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Avalon,

Sorry if you already answered this question but what does your hubby say about him possibly being clinically depressed?

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post #53 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-13-2011, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Hmmm... I've been doing a bunch of reading about depression and other mental health issues, as well as personality disorders. I came across Schizoid personality disorder and its criteria, and my husband meets 4, possibly 5 of the criteria listed:

Diagnostic Criteria, Schizoid Personality Disorder

A pervasive pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of expression of emotions in interpersonal settings, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

** neither desires nor enjoys close relationships, including being part of a family

** almost always chooses solitary activities

has little, if any, interest in having sexual experiences with another person

** takes pleasure in few, if any, activities

** lacks close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives

appears indifferent to the praise or criticism of others

** shows emotional coldness, detachment, or flattened affectivity

This pretty much describes his personality. Some things I've read say schizoids create a huge fantasy world that they internally live in. My husband doesn't do that, unless you can count Internet addiction as his fantasy world.

Interesting reading, has definitely given me something more to think about. He just doesn't really fit the criteria for depression nearly as well as the schizoid personality.
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post #54 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 08:03 AM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Avalon, I agree that the behavior you describe exhibits strong traits of Schizoid PD (which apparently is being merged together with "Schizotypal Personality Disorder" when DSM5 is released in May 2013). What puzzles me, however, is that you started observing such behavior only 9 years ago, after you quit your job outside the home. This is confusing because PDs form at about age 3 or 4, when something (usually a trauma of abuse or abandonment) interferes with the child's ability to develop an integrated, strong self image. It is believed that most PD sufferers are set up for that to happen by genetics, which gives them a predisposition to having a mental disorder -- and the risk of developing a full blown PD is greatly increased by a rough childhood, as your H had when his dad committed suicide. Indeed, that suicide suggests that the genetics came from his father's side of the family.

I say all this because a PD typically starts showing itself in the mid-teens when the person is trying to start forming LTRs outside the family. Once the dysfunctional traits start showing, they tend to remain fairly stable throughout life -- although studies indicate that they tend to become a bit milder starting in the late forties. I have never heard of a PD lying hidden for a dozen years and then, during the last 9 years of a marriage, suddenly appearing.

When PD-like behavior suddenly appears like that, it is usually attributable to a head injury or drug use -- neither of which seems to have occurred to your H. Another possibility is that your H has strong traits of what Ralph Kline calls secret schizoids, i.e., people who present themselves as socially available, interested, engaged, and involved in interacting in the eyes of the observer, while at the same time, he or she is apart, emotionally withdrawn, and sequestered in a safe place in his or her own internal world. It may be, then, that your H's schizoid traits were always there but, nine years ago, they switched from being covert to overt.

I therefore suggest that you confirm your suspicions by visiting a clinical psychologist for a session or two and describing your H's behavior to him. I also suggest that you consider whether any red flags were evident all through your marriage (starting after the honeymoon period) but which you may have ignored at the time.

In any event, I applaud your brave decision to read about PDs so as to learn what red flags to look for. So many people -- including a few on this forum -- are afraid to discuss PD symptoms. They mistakenly interpret the term "disorder" to imply "disease" and thus are afraid they will somehow identify the wrong disease. They don't realize that there is a world of difference between spotting symptoms (i.e., red flags) and diagnosing a disease.

This confusion likely arises because, in every field of the medical sciences, "disorder" refers to an identifiable disease. In psychology, however, a personality "disorder" is not a specific disease but, rather, simply a group of symptoms. Consequently, there is nothing dangerous about discussing symptoms. Indeed, when you go to a doctor's office, the first thing he will ask is "What are your symptoms?" And, at the hundreds of forums dedicated to medical issues, you will see thousands of lay people discussing their symptoms all day long. Incidentally, I am simply blown away by the home schooling work you're doing for your daughter whose sleep schedule is constantly changing. Take care, Avalon.

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post #55 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 10:41 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Thanks Uptown... though one tiny thing is wrong, my husband's father didn't commit suicide, he's alive and healthy and well, so must have been confused with someone else on the forums. My husband was raised in an extremely traditional family, father goes to work for 10 hours a day, mother stays home to take care of the children and have dinner on the table when dad gets home from work.

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Another possibility is that your H has strong traits of what Ralph Kline calls secret schizoids, i.e., people who present themselves as socially available, interested, engaged, and involved in interacting in the eyes of the observer, while at the same time, he or she is apart, emotionally withdrawn, and sequestered in a safe place in his or her own internal world. It may be, then, that your H's schizoid traits were always there but, nine years ago, they switched from being covert to overt.
I read about this last night too, and it fits best. For example, if one of my friends or the kids friend's or the neighbors come over, he's all polite and talkative toward them, and the INSTANT they're out the door he's back at his computer. People have told me he's not that introverted, but it's really just a show he puts on when there is someone besides family near.

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I also suggest that you consider whether any red flags were evident all through your marriage (starting after the honeymoon period) but which you may have ignored at the time.
Yeah, I see little tiny signs starting from when we were first married, hundreds of very minor things that at the time I just chalked up to an interesting personality, nothing that ever interfered with daily life, but when you look at them over a period of 20 years and add them all up, hmmmm....

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Incidentally, I am simply blown away by the home schooling work you're doing for your daughter whose sleep schedule is constantly changing.
Thanks... she's very worth it, IMO . The single most important job I will ever have in my life is to raise two happy, well adjusted, successful, independent kids. Just wish I wasn't having to do it feeling like a single parent.

I really appreciate your input here, it's very enlightening for me to read and start understanding and learning about how people function, has definitely given me some insight into why my husband might be the way he is.

Avalon

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post #56 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-23-2011, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Here we go again... I had a minor orthopedic surgery today, am able to walk around a bit but it's slow and it's achy and I'm on pain meds. Again, my 16-year-old daughter drove me to and from surgery (an hour away) since I get the feeling things like this are an "inconvenience" for hubby.

Apparently, it was more important for my hubby to balance the checkbook tonight and read Internet news than to check up on me to see if I by chance needed an extra pillow or an ice pack or my pain meds. Other than asking a generic "how did it go?" and not really paying attention to my reply, that has been his entire involvement in my surgery today. Yeah... I should be used to this by now, but every time it still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth
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post #57 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 06:14 AM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Avalon, I'm sorry to hear that his behavior is as bad as usual -- following your surgery, no less. Thanks so much for giving us an update.
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post #58 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 11:39 AM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

This comes from an apathetic husband of 4 years. It isn't until last week that I realised that I had emotionally 'checked out' of the relationship, and that had been quite some time ago (possibly a couple of years). Now that I have admitted that to myself, I progress to asking myself why I did that. What I've come up with so far is this:
- We have inherent problems in our relationship that have either never been talked about or resolved
- I have never been happy with my wife's (non) commitment to work for a living and was in denial about it rather than being prepared to leave. Specifically, I was the 'provider' and in current financial circumstances was unable to provide for her. She now blames me for not supporting her more in her loss making business and feels she's back at sqaure 1 at 33 years old.
- Our sex life has been dismal for 3 years and couldn't picture myself living without adequate sex for the rest of my life, so the commitment to the relationship diminished
- Also, there were several aspects of my wife's personality that I wasn't comfortable with and this led to a dimishment of commitment.
- As I withdrew, I suspect she began resenting me more for not loving her in the way that she believed I should. A vicious circle ensues.
- As none of these issues (and many more) were never addressed, our resentment grew to the point where we argued most of the time. I would rather sit on a computer and lose myself for hours than have to deal with a crappy relationship that is going nowhere but downhill, a wife who won't take responsibility for the awful work situation she's in at the moment and generally dealing with BS. Not productive, but true.
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post #59 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-27-2011, 08:59 AM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

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I would rather sit on a computer and lose myself for hours than have to deal with a crappy relationship that is going nowhere but downhill, a wife who won't take responsibility for the awful work situation she's in at the moment and generally dealing with BS. Not productive, but true.
Ditto.....

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post #60 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-28-2011, 08:10 PM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

I started reading this thread and, as pathetic as this sounds, it made me feel better. I am not alone! Similar story, similar husband. I am in the process of finding an apartment, because I cannot see staying with this man as empty-nesters. He is completely emotionally blank.

I won't go into the sad story, suffice it to say he was involved in our children's lives as money-maker and chauffeur and little else unless absolutely necessary. As far as our relationship goes, the only conversations we have ever had that were initiated by him had to do with "safe" topics, like stuff that might be needed from the store, or whether prescription refills are needed. My wants, in his mind, are frivolous, unnecessary, complicated and I need to get over it and just do what I want to do.

Well, I can do what I want to do on my own. I can live my life according to my own values alone. I do not need a husband for that. F--- it.

Why bother trying to come up with a way of life that takes both of our strengths and melds them into great life?
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