Need advice on if to stay in marriage causing disassociation - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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Need advice on if to stay in marriage causing disassociation

It's not that he's mean, malicious, or uncaring. He truly loves me. It's just he has difficulty with life, and he has broken my trust with a thousand papercuts (and a couple of giant ones). I've been the "parent" for so long now, all alone with massive surprise financial stresses because of his actions, or not knowing if/when I have a home, or if my family is ok, that I'm disassociating to deal with it all and stand strong. It means that I'm disconnected and can handle emergencies and disasters with surprising grace and care, but it also means I can't really feel happiness anymore. I'm worried that it will develop into fill blown disassociation disorder if I stay with my husband. I'm slowly becoming numb. I don't know if I'm still attracted to him (I know I don't want to be intimate, but like to hug him often). I don't even know if I love or detest my husband. If I don't know, then it means I could nurture the love side to take over, right? I want to make this all work, and for us to be a happy family. But, how do you stay in a relationship when you can't trust your partner, and every time you start giving them trust, they let you down? Marriage councilling and anti-depressants hasn't done a thing.

A glimpse into the last five years of our marriage (our late 20s to early 30s):

For years he only showers once every week or two, barely brushes his teeth, wears dirty, wrinkled and inappropriate clothing in public. Just pretty much smells, tastes, feels, and looks repugnant. No matter how many different ways I've tried to work with him to help him address these issues, nothing seems to stick. Every time he promised to change, he'd end up breaking this promise.

Went to school to become a construction project manager while I supported him. Once he graduated, he obviously needed a job. He didn't do anything. I literally had to figure out which jobs he wanted, write his resume, find the jobs, write the cover letter, submit the application, and inform him about the jobs in case they called. Almost every place called him in for an interview, but he didn't get a single job. = Promised to try to get a job. Didn't even try.

He needed to bring in some money because I had been supporting him and our mortgage/bills for years, so he started a company with a buddy. He would update me frequently on how it was going. Money wasn't coming in, but he was working on some big jobs that would take some time to complete and get paid. Well, after two years of bringing in under $8000 a year, I told him we couldn't wait for the big money to come anymore and I wanted him to leave the partnership. I then found out that even with the money owed and all the company assets, the company was running at a loss and we'd actually have to pay money to just leave it! =Promised me that money was coming and things were alright. They weren't. He knew it, and tried to hide it, with personal consequences to me.

Sold our house with a clause of redoing the main floor hardwood. Hubby is in the trades so did it himself. The buyers sent a subpeona to him (only his email was on file), suing us for the money to redo the floors. Didn't read his emails so we missed our court date to fight which hubby said we could win because he did the floors fine.This is after countless conversations I had with him about checking and properly reading his emails, which he promised to do. He later admitted that we were actually in the fault because he screwed up the floors, and just led me along for months thinking we were fine. Cost us $1200.

Bought a new house, which my hubby took time off to work fulltime on renovating, while we stayed out of town with relatives. Renos were originally supposed to take 3-4 months, and living out of town meant 4 hours of extra driving a day. I thought "3 months will be hard with a toddler, but I'm tough!". Well, it took over 8 months.

He didn't track time and costs in excel, like he promised, leading to things being totally off schedule and budget (by tens of thousands of dollars), with no way for me to be sure what to expect. Can you imagine not knowing when you could actually live in your own house, or if you could afford to finish the renos to even move in? I spent hours trying to lead discussions to figure out basic budgets and timeframes moving forward, but it was like pulling teeth. It was like we were hemorrhaging money, and no one could tell me how much, why, or when it would stop.

I finally set two weeks off of work, and told him we're moving in during this time, done or not. We moved in. I applied for a job for him, which he started shortly after we moved in. He then wasn't able to handle anything more than work and sleep.That was 8 months ago, and the remaining renos still haven't been touched. I went 6 months without being able to have a shower because of a couple of tiles still being missing from the shower wall (don't worry, I bathed). I couldn't do it myself because I couldn't find the tiles and my hubby kept on promising to do it "next weekend". Piles of construction materials are laying around our lawn. There's still no door on the bathroom. I can't afford to hire someone to do it, so will most likely need to take my vacation time to finish myself (although my husband thinks I'm incompetent at renos).

I had to go out of country on business trip during halloween, and was upset that I was going to miss my son's first trick or treating. Husband promised to send photos that night so I could at least see my son. He didn't. He also didn't respond to my calls or text message for 4 days, so I had no idea if he was even alive. Everything was great when I left home so I started to panic about why he was MIA. When I got back, he said he simply "forgot".

Just in the last 3 months he finally started taking anti-depressants, but things are getting worse between us. He's messed twice with my son's health and safety, and racked up over $10,000 in unexpected costs (which is really tough over the christmas holidays):

Didn't give our child his medication he needed (I had to take this off his responsibilities).

Hid that he forgot to pay an invoice to the electrician last year, so we owed $2500. Let me think we could still afford to buy new couches even when we couldn't in light of this. We actually went couch shopping.

Last year, he told me that we had needed to dig up our whole front lawn, 8 ft deep, because someone that works at our municipal engineering department kept giving him the wrong info. So, I collected the info to claim the money back ($7500). This is when I discovered that my husband simply didn't completely read his emails from the city engineer, meaning it was a $7500 mistake of unnecessarily having someone dig up our entire front lawn. When I found out the error on my own, I didn't yell, but explained how I was upset because of broken trust and communications between us. He got upset with me because I wasn't thinking about how he must be feeling about himself making the error.

He promised to sell his truck last autumn, which is costing us a small fortune. It's now the winter, he still has it, and his back window is now broken which will now cost $800 to fix. He's been driving around with this broken window duct taped together for a month, and had our toddler son's car seat directly under the broken area for a week until I told him he had to move the seat.

Then there's been hundreds of small things that he does that negatively impact me:

Lost his interac card so borrowed mine. Lost mine.

Broke his phone. Borrowed mine until he could get a replacement. Never gave mine back after two months so I went and got another one for me.

Lost his driver's license. Didn't get it replaced for months and piled up $300 of tickets for not having it.

Broke promise to stay shaved for two weeks that the marriage councilor suggested as a trust test/ trust building exercise.

He promised to quit smoking with me, but walks around with a pack of cigarettes in his pocket.

When switching mobile providers, forgot to cancel his account with the old one (which I was there when he was told he had to do). I ended up having to pay for months of his old, inactive account totalling over $300.

Hides disgusting dirty dished under his side of the bed, which stinks up my bedroom.

Forgot to get me anything or plan anything for every birthday for nine years. This year, after I made it obvious how upset I was about it all these years, he brought me out for a nice dinner and got a gift. 1 out of 10 is better than 0 out of 10, right? Every year I've hosted a nice birthday party for him and gotten him a nice gift.

Whenever any of these issues happen, my husband genuinely feels bad and guilty. He falls quiet and upset, which makes me feel bad for him and try to work with him to fix the problem. When I talk to him about how I feel or am hurt, he shuts down and can't handle it, and sits there in silence looking at the ground. He says it's all him. I know it's never all one person's fault in a relationship. But, I can't change him, and if he doesn't change himself is it really bad enough to end a marriage, leaving us both alone and my son without a warm, family home?


Last edited by lilybuds; 01-16-2017 at 09:24 PM.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 02:51 PM
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Re: Need advice on if to stay in marriage causing disassociation

Yes, everyone brings issues into any relationship, he just brings a lot more than you do. Well, it is no surprise that you have lost interest in him as a partner since you cannot respect him, trust him, and have been a crutch for him instead of letting him fall and see if he can get back up on his own. Btw, even if you leave him, he may never change.

The problem is that you are burning yourself out with all his negligence. The bridge that connects the two of you is burning before you and once it is completely, you will become more indifferent. He is causing you distress, and he knows it but he is so mired in his own shiet that he cannot give you anything you need from a partner. He cannot even maintain his own life without you. He has not learned a thing from any mistakes and it is purely habitual what his behavior is.

Keep detaching until you have the ability to separate and tell him what your needs are at this point and if he really wants to meet those needs or not because he is replaceable as a husband. They are called ex-husbands or wives for a reason.

Remember, you cannot change him and the motivation for that change must come from him. Him letting you down, letting himself down, letting your child down, is not enough to change him. Instead, he grows defensive when issues are brought up and he will never listen due to him protecting the ego. The longer you stay, the worse off you will be when it comes time to move on. Debt, he will ruin you for years and he does not care enough to change that very fact.

I am such a tree hugger because it gives me wood!
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 03:04 PM
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Re: Need advice on if to stay in marriage causing disassociation

first thing….yuk! How can you let this guy in bed with you when he doesn't bathe for weeks at a time? Do you change your sheets daily? Doesn't brush his teeth? Double yuk.

Your husband is who he is for whatever reason, lazy, depressed, immature, honestly I don't think it matters. I have no idea how to fix the guy, my only advise is in regards to your son. Keep in mind children tend to mimic the same gender parent and become conditioned to the environment they are raised in. What I am saying is jr. may end up just like papa. If you are truly concerned for your son you may need to change how and where he is being raised.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Need advice on if to stay in marriage causing disassociation

Burning out is something I didn't even think about.

If I stay or leave my husband, jr. would still know him and see him, so mimicking might be impossible to side step.

Last edited by lilybuds; 01-15-2017 at 07:21 PM.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 07:23 PM
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Why are you with him still? Good grief, move on and free yourself.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 07:39 PM
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Re: Need advice on if to stay in marriage causing disassociation

OP,
It sounds as though you have a second child to deal with, even more so than many others on this site. He sounds as though he has the maturity of a 4 or 5 yo. Your patience and level of tolerance is nothing short of amazing. However, I am not sure it is serving you well. It seems to be taking a serious toll on you. Rarely do I go with this advice and never so quickly but this seems untenable. Based on your initial post there seems to be no hope of any even minuscule ability to change on his part.

You must consider yourself and your child and seriously contemplate getting away from this boy. Has he been tested for mental retardation? His ability to be oblivious is beyond what most would consider reasonable save someone with significant cognitive issues. His ignoring you, the counselor, his emails, his hygiene, his health, this is severely abnormal.

This is not going to get better therefore if you want a better life you will seriously have to consider moving on from him. You seem to be a person of deep conviction and empathy but you must set a limit for how much you can tolerate and still keep you psyche whole and you must consider your child's welfare as well. I regret your finding yourself in this situation but it is only you that can change it.

Peace and long life
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 07:43 PM
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Re: Need advice on if to stay in marriage causing disassociation

wow. you have stayed for a long time and put up with a lot. I'm sorry all this has happened to you.

Do you have poor boundaries? or are you willing to put up with a lot for love, or to keep your child in a 2 parent home?
Was he always like this?

The hygiene, irresponsible, financial stuff is pretty bad.

The worst of it seems to be how he is with your son (IMO). Honestly, I would document all this, especially the irresponsibility towards your child, and go see a lawyer as to what your options may be. If feasible, I would separate finances and living situation.

You stay and help, and try to get him to clean up his act. But as long as you stay around and help him with the hard stuff, it really seems like he is never going to find his own way. Show him that he can pull his own weight for the family and in your relationship or he can do life on his own. Either he comes around, or he stops coming around.

I get it, I really do. I stayed in a bad marriage with an unpleasant man for a lot longer than I should have. And I started feeling the way you describe as well. A disassociation. At each new crisis, it became more of a, what is the new bad thing going to be? vs. panic/uproar/upset. The mind becoming accustomed to chaos? or trying to protect itself from stress? not sure. But it was bad for me. I compartmentalized everything to be able to face each new day, and when I left, there was a lot to unpack emotionally.

Forget enough to get over it, remember enough so it doesn't happen again.

Last edited by sixty-eight; 01-15-2017 at 09:04 PM.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 07:49 PM
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Re: Need advice on if to stay in marriage causing disassociation

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Originally Posted by lilybuds View Post
Burning out is something I didn't even think about.

If I stay or leave my husband, jr. would still know him and see him, so mimicking might be impossible to side step.
This was one of my reasons for staying as well.

But I documented all of our mistreatment, and his time with my kids is minimal and supervised.

Document and see a lawyer as to your options on that.

But you have to think, Jr. knowing him and seeing him full time, with you crushed under the weight of all this, or

jr. seeing his dad part time, with the threat of if there is a screw up in regards to your son's safety, then your H's time would be restricted. And you, lighter with only one child to look after will have more to give your son.

You don't have to do anything yet. Just go see a lawyer. see what your options are.

Forget enough to get over it, remember enough so it doesn't happen again.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 08:01 PM
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Re: Need advice on if to stay in marriage causing disassociation

Please, stop wasting your life with him. I am sure you have tried every which way with him and if he has no desire to function properly, then leave. What attracted you to him originally? Be strong. Tell him you are done living like this. Leave him and stop worrying about how he affects your life. You'll be so much happier when you do.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 08:50 PM
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Re: Need advice on if to stay in marriage causing disassociation

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Originally Posted by lilybuds View Post
It's not that he's mean, malicious, or uncaring. He truly loves me. It's just he has difficulty with life.... my husband genuinely feels bad and guilty. He falls quiet and upset, which makes me feel bad for him and try to work with him to fix the problem.
Lily, you're describing the classic warning signs for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Adults with ADHD typically have trouble managing time, being organized, setting goals, and holding down a job. Some people with ADHD only have problems with one of the behaviors, while others have both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity.

The issues you describe here are those of inattention, not hyperactivity (but you also describe some impulse issues with spending). You therefore seem to be describing red flags for ADHD with "Predominantly Inattentive Presentation." ADHD is described at NIMH and at WebMD. I therefore suggest that he see a psychiatrist to be evaluated.

If it is determined that ADHD is the problem, I suggest you give him an opportunity to improve his own functioning and then decide whether that improvement is sufficient for you to remain married to him. ADHD can be treated with medication (both stimulants and non-stimulants) and therapy (e.g., CBT). While there is no cure for ADHD, currently available treatments can help reduce symptoms and improve functioning.


Last edited by Uptown; 01-15-2017 at 09:07 PM.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 09:16 PM
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Re: Need advice on if to stay in marriage causing disassociation

Actually your problem is a lot easier to solve than you think.
You are in a dark dirty hole 400 feet down.

You have nowhere to go but up.

The first thing you need to do is find a place to stay as far away from him as possible.
The second thing is to get a job, or two jobs to keep afloat for a while.

Ask for government assistance for your child. You will need daycare money.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-16-2017, 08:28 PM
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Re: Need advice on if to stay in marriage causing disassociation

If you do get divorced, I'd like to put him in touch with my exwife.

They deserve each other.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-16-2017, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Need advice on if to stay in marriage causing disassociation

Thanks for your responses. It means a lot to hear some perspective.
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