Apathetic husband for too long... - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-05-2011, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Apathetic husband for too long...

Hello, new here. I know nobody can tell me what i should do, but it's good to be able to write it down and be able to vent a bit. My husband and I will be married 23 years next month. We have 2 incredible teenage girls, I feel truly blessed to be their mom because they are such great people.

Trouble started 9 years ago when I quit my job that I hated and started working from home part time. I had full support from DH to do this. He USED TO BE a fun, loving, caring person and a great father. When I started staying home to work, he stopped parenting, stopped communicating with the kids, stopped being a part of their lives at all except for paying the bills. He became a workaholic and addicted to spending hours on the Internet (nothing illegal, just news and computer tech sorts of things). He stopped participating in life, basically.

I spent years trying to get him to be an active part of the family, things as simple as spending 20 minutes playing cards with the kids, going for a hike, out to a movie, etc. He stopped going to the kids' sporting events, never had a clue what they were doing in school, etc. He was more interested in his computer than his own children.

He has turned into a totally apathetic person, no friends, no hobbies, no interests, virtually nothing in the world that is worth him waking up and getting out of bed for in the morning except his computer time. He does a lot of chores and things around the house, that is not the problem. There has never been any abuse of any kind, just complete apathy about life now.

He provides very well financially for the family, but that is the ONLY that he contributes any more. I can have a better conversation with a brick than with my own husband. I've never stopped living my life, I see my friends, spend a TON of time with our kids and their friends because I truly enjoy being with them, I volunteer at school, I participate in community activities, etc.

I am a single parent in a 23-year marriage, except for the fact that I live under the same roof as the man who pays the bills. There is nothing left. I wasted years of time and energy trying to get him to be an active part of the family, to have a good relationship with our kids, etc. Time and time again over 9 years he has chosen his priorities, and his own children and family are not one of them. His parents are elderly and need care and he has completely dropped the ball as far as helping them out, he just doesn't care.

I'm done, and I've come to the realization that I'm sooo much better without him, but I feel dead inside when I'm with him. My girls keep asking why we're still with him. The thing is that I have no idea how to survive on my own financially since I've only worked part time from home for the past 9 years and I've been a full time mom.

OK... long enough sob story for now. It just feels good to get it off my chest and to say it out loud. There are a thousand instances I could hash out, but I won't get into that.

Any other people out there who are with completely apathetic and emotionless spouses?

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post #2 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-05-2011, 05:45 PM
anx
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Is mc an option?

It's not fair for either of you for neither of you to be happy. Also, prolonging anything because of finances is silly. It's not good or fair to either of you.

Shake things up somehow. Move out or do the 180 that can be found on this site or in my story in my profile.

He is just in a rut and potentially depressed. If you want your husband back, shake and push hard. the status quo cannot be ok anymore.

Hopefully someone else with some more direct experience can chime in.
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post #3 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-05-2011, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

I know it's been going on far too long. I spent years wavering between hating that he lives in the same house as his own kids and literally knows nothing about them, and then thinking that it's really not that bad, financially we are fine and it allows me to only work part time and still be a full time mom, back and forth and back and forth...

Any time I've tried to bring up the subject that he spends way more time with his computer than his own children, he gets defensive, puts up a huge wall, and just shuts down, won't talk at all. We don't argue, we haven't yelled at each other once in 23 years. I've tried writing him letters explaining how I feel and how his actions affect our kids, but he doesn't say or do a thing, just hides in his little shell.

I've come to the conclusion that he needs nothing more in life than a dark room, a computer, and a high speed internet connection.

I just don't know how to open up a conversation with him about this, because every time I've tried he just completely shuts down. I can't just pick up and move out, I have kids and a bunch of pets to think about and I won't displace them to leave my DH alone in a big house. One of my daughters has a sleep disorder that requires her to go to an alternative school, even though she's a straight-A honor student (not that he knows anything about her medical condition or her grades at school). I want my husband to leave, but I don't know what to say or how to tell him without him just closing up again and again and again.

And to be perfectly honest with myself, I don't think I WANT to try to salvage anything at this point. After seeing how little his own children matter to him, and how he has treated his elderly parents, I have no desire to live with a man who has no heart or emotions whatsoever.
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post #4 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-05-2011, 06:31 PM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Avalon - that person you described as your husband was me 18 months ago. Married 18yrs, 2 kids, one income (me) and 1 stay at home mom working 3 hrs a day.

I woke up from depression and addiction to online games(Warcraft) when my wife after a big blow-out came to me the next day and told me she was taking the kids after school year was up and going to her parents. She stated it calmly and confidently. She was done and not coming back.

I don't know why it took me so long but I decided to change that day.

Still on a long road to recovery but it's been a very good ride so far and continues to look up.

It could definitely be depression.
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post #5 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-05-2011, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Powerbane - I've tried for NINE YEARS to wake my husband up and get him to realize that he's missing out on his life. I've tried talking to him about it. He just doesn't care, and if he isn't willing to help himself (obviously) then nobody else is going to make it happen for him either.

I would love nothing more than to leave DH and move closer to where my family lives, knowing that I would have a great support system to go through a divorce and stand on my own two feet, but I have to stay where I am now if my daughter is going to graduate from high school. That's two more years of conversations as deep as "please pass the salt" (yep, that's about our level of communication these days). I need to stay if it means my daughter can be successful in school and graduate. I hate being boxed into a corner
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post #6 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-06-2011, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

I've been away from my DH for a week now, staying at a family member's house while they are away on a vacation. I'll be here for another week before heading back home.

I can't believe how stress-free and happy I've been this past week, away from the fake and empty life I lead every day at home with my husband. I think being away for a little while has been a really good break for me mentally and emotionally, to see how good I feel without him. I'm sitting here worrying about if our pets and garden are being taken care of while I'm gone, but I don't miss my husband one teeny bit. That sounds harsh, but it's definitely a reality check for me.

Oh, dear, I think I just answered my own question about not being sure if I want to go out on my own or not.
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post #7 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-07-2011, 01:18 PM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

WOW! Almost sounds like my husband of 24 years. I have 3 great kids, one just graduated from college and other two in college. Your story is very similar in that my husband is out of the house from 8am-11pm everyday of the week. He also never wanted to be around me or the family. The difference is that my husband wants to go out and have fun with friends (doesn't keep friends long and changes often) or work. All I know is that I left him once and didn't feel lonely at all. I allowed him back because he seemed to have changed, but he eventually went back to the same. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE WORLD MORE LONELIER THAN LIVING WITH SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T WANT TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOU! I can't say that loud enough. It's rejection on a daily basis. I have made my decision leave husband. Right now I am in the process of discussing this with the kids, because no matter how old they are, it's difficult. They are at peace with it and totally understand how I feel (they feel the same). It sounds like you have done a great job raising your children and running the household. Whatever your decision is, do it for yourself and your happiness.
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post #8 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-07-2011, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

maya - Yep... you definitely know what it feels like to live with someone who has the ability to live under the same roof as you and be a complete stranger. Though in my case my husband has virtually no social life at all- a few acquaintances from work, but literally not one friend in the world.

He works from home sometimes, at the office other times. I used to think it was great that he worked at home, now I hate those days when he's home. I feel horrible for feeling that way, but it's the honest truth. When he's at work, I cringe in the afternoon when I hear the garage door opening when he gets home. I think of any reason to be out of the house when he's home, because I simply cannot stand the huge empty space between us. When I look at him, I see an empty, numb, vacant nothing.

It kills me to see my kids doing the same thing I do. They will do just about anything to avoid being around him. It's absolutely pathetic that they feel that way about their own father. But they learned from the best... for nine years he has repeatedly shown them that he doesn't have time or attention to give to them. Then when they spend days not saying a single word to him, he wonders what's wrong!!! Gah!!!!!!! He does not understand that he himself is the one who taught them to treat him that way.

I've been honest and up front with my kids through all of this. I let them know how I feel, ask them how they feel and what their thoughts are, and we have very open and good conversations. Sure wish I could do that with DH!

I just hate that it's financial constraints that are holding me at the moment. I can't go to work full time until my daughter with the sleep disorder graduates from high school. Not that DH has a clue about any of that. He has no opinion on the matter, just like everything else in his life.

Oh, it feels so good to get this all out in writing!!!
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post #9 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-10-2011, 08:37 AM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

As I write this, my husband is in the next room doing what he does best. Watching tv.

We have been together 17 yrs. Married 13. We have 3 wonderful girls. In all outward appearances, our life is pretty good. The girls do well in school, have lots of friends etc et al. Our family has a circle of friends we spend time with boating, hanging out and vacationing with. Again, all looks well.

Our marriage? Dead as a doornail. My husband seems to care less. I have been sleeping on the couch for over a year (my kids have accepted the 'daddy snores so much I can't sleep' excuse or at least they want to). We haven't had sex in over 8 months. He hasn't even attempted. And honestly, it doesn't even bother me anymore except when he jokes with his friends about the lack...

I would think most men would question this state of marriage. Not mine. Like anything that hints of emotion/discomfort, he ignores it, shuts down, closes people out. Including me.

The first 7 yrs of our marriage, he traveled A LOT so I always blamed his detachment on exhaustion. I always thought he needed weekends to decompress and that is why he always checked out on the tv, failed to help in any way around the house and never had the desire to spend time with me. The kids he spent some time albiet mostly with our middle daughter who is the "easy" one. The oldest and youngest get little of his time and lots of his annoyance. For the most part, I feel like he likes just one of the four of us.

Three years ago, I said thats it. Time to be home or risk our marriage. So he switched jobs and now works out of the home and travels to the office just occassionally. All that did was show me it wasn't the job. It was him. All that time, it was him.

Two months ago, I firmly confronted him with my concerns over our marriage. It wasn't a fight, just an affirmation of my feelings. Truth be told we don't fight. He listens. He walks away. As a result, I rarely try to express myself anymore. Tired of my feelings being dismissed.

This last time, he asked me what he was supposed to do, that he knows we are in trouble. I told him I really don't know. I have begged, suggested, compromised etc for the past 13 years. I don't feel like I can guide him anymore. At some point he has to grow up and start caring for someone else other than just himself. I think we need couseling. He won't do it. He just withdraws even more. I didn't know that was possible.

It seems like our whole marriage is and has been a sham. He likes the trappings of a home, wife and children but has never participated in the actual process. I know he has emotional detachment issues but I am so done being in a dead marriage. I am so tired of not feeling loved. I am done feeling like I do not matter. I am done keeping up the pretense of a happy marriage in front of friends. I am done carrying on like everything is okay when I am dying inside.
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post #10 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-10-2011, 11:07 AM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

I don't think that is is ever "far too long" to not consider MC or even counseling to become a better parent. Sometimes people just need a little nudge to realize that they can be a better, more happy and fun person. It really isn't hard. I was having difficulties in raising my kids with my wife and decided to take some parenting counseling. It worked wonders. Maybe it is time for your husband to "Man Up"

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post #11 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-10-2011, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Nnoodle - I can't believe how similar our stories are, other than that as a couple, my husband and I have virtually NO friends that we do things with together. I myself have a lot of friends and I do things with them often, thank goodness.

You said it... at some point my husband has to grow up and start caring about other people that *should* be important in his life, like his own children. "Emotional detachment issues"... yeah, that's pretty much my husband in a nutshell too.

I had a great chat with my kids yesterday, asking them what they would think if I start to rock the boat a bit. They definitely would rather not live with their father, but we have a bunch of summer things planned in the next few weeks (nothing that involves the husband, since he would opt to not participate anyway), and after that I'm going to tell my husband we need to talk. I'm not going to be acusing or hurtful, just flat out tell him how I feel, and that I know he's not capable of talking about anything emotional or uncomfortable for him. But I will tell him that he's an adult, he's a father of two amazing kids, and he needs to act like an adult and decide whether he's willing to step outside of his comfort zone to try to work something out or not. If he's not, then I'll take the next step in telling him that there's nothing left at that point.

I just can't live with the apathy anymore, spending 2 weeks away from him has shown me that I feel SOOO MUCH BETTER when I'm not with him.
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post #12 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-10-2011, 10:58 PM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

I think that's the best way to go about it. I'm not sure where your story ends up, but I hope it is in a far happier situation. It's not impossible your husband could be in the picture, but it might take a few years.

Best of luck and God bless.
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post #13 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-10-2011, 11:16 PM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Wow. Very sad. I couldn't imagine not knowing about your child's day. Thier likes. Their fears. Their successes. Or even just sitting on the couch with them watching the Suite Life.

I have to tune out sometimes, my daughter seems to talk from the moment she opens her eyes to the time sleep overpowers her. Lol. But just being there listening to the non stop chatter is it's own blessing.

You seem like an awesome mom. The kind they portray on those warm and fuzzy tv shows. And the selfless sacrifice you want to make for your children is above admirable! I only wish you the very best in your future.

Btw. I was your husband, less than 9 months ago. It didn't start out that way. I had depression, and eventually started shutting down little by little each day, until I think I was only a walking zombie. I just couldn't cope. My wifes EA is actually what woke me up. As ironic as that is, it made me a better man. I got help, got meds, and now can't imagine a day not spending playtime with the kids. That change truly has to come from within. No amount of you explaining it to him is going to make a smudge of difference.
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post #14 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-10-2011, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Thanks alphaomega - like you said, I cannot begin to imagine a world where my kids wouldn't be the most important thing in my life. In not only their mom, but also "mom" to 5 of their friends. Next month I'm taking 7 teenagers camping, and I'm actually looking forward to spending time with them all My kids are very self-assured, don't bend to peer pressure, are excellent students, make generally good decisions (considering they're teenagers!), have a great sense of humor, etc. Basically, I have two teens who give me no grief, and that in an of itself is incredible in this day and age. Yet my husband is totally oblivious of it. We are so very blessed with these kids, but they are invisible to him.

Report cards came in the mail this week, and he's was all gushing over how good their grades are. Like he had one single thing to do with it. He wasn't the parent up at 2 a.m. teaching geometry to one of the kids because she has a sleep disorder and 2 a.m. is when HER brain is awake and alert to be able to understand it. Actually, he didn't even know what classes they were in until he saw the report cards. It wasn't until I had major knee surgery and couldn't drive that he finally figured out where his own kids went to school out of sheer necessity.

How can someone literally not give a rat's arse about his own kids? I simply can't comprehend that lack of feeling... it just doesn't compute for me.
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post #15 of 68 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 12:41 AM
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Re: Apathetic husband for too long...

Depression is something you can't really understand until you've been through it. Even if its not depression, your husbands isolation and bad choices are the same thing.

He can "wake up". Many men do. He thinks he is caring. The financial support that your family lives on day to day is supported by him. Sometimes being the man isn't easy. Nor is being the mother. Don't think that you husband isn't loving or stupid.

Feelings are different for men. The only reason you have the financials to live while helping your daughter at 2 am is because your husband provides that. It's more complicated than you think. Your husband loves you deeply and thinks he is showing that. 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.
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