There is so much to my story but to sum it up I feel completely disconnected from my husband. He no longer holds my hand, sits with me, talks with me (about things other than work or the kids), we don't "date", we don't flirt. We do have sex but its just "sex". We fight about everything. The only time we are "good" with each other is when we are ignoring all the other issues. I have a lot of blame for the way our relationship has ended up, but I feel like my husband is settling into the way things are now and has no desire to make changes.
I have asked him to forgive me and I have apologized. I am reading books and seeking outside help. What else can I do in the mean time to get my marriage back on track?
We have been married for nine years and have three kids. We have both let all of our responsibilities over run our marriage. He says that we have become "father/provider" and "mother/caretaker". I want to get back to being "husband/wife".
This has all been happening for some time but I really felt him disconnecting about a year ago when I became really sick. I'm fine now, but he holds on to the fear that I'm going to get sick again instead of being grateful for everyday I'm living.
On our nine year anniversary (about 2 months ago) we fought about him doing something out of his way for a woman he works with. I don't fear that he will cheat but I was heartbroken that he would go out of his way for her when I don't feel like he will go out of his way for me. I tried to tell him how I felt and by the end of the night after all the fighting about everything over the past nine years I told him that I would get up the next day and go on with life, taking care of him and our family, just like always and he told me not to bother, that he would take care of himself and I shouldn't go out of my way for him. I took this to mean that he didn't want me anymore and I took off my wedding rings and told him I would call my parents in the morning. He FLIPPED out - I tried explaining that he made me feel like he didn't want me there, that he was giving up but he blames the whole thing on me. No amount of "sorry" or I want to stay's will help him move on.
We have talked about this briefly in the last 2 months but in the day to day, its ignored. On his days off he checks his BB and plays xbox, all day. There is no conversation, there is no contact between us. I just fell so helpless. We are seeing a counselor but not until the end of the month. I tried to tell him yesterday that I was lonely without him and that I felt like he didn't care an ounce for me and he told me that my feelings were crazy, he was a good man and he had done nothing wrong. I just don't know if I should back off and wait it out or try and talk and connect with him. I am so sad about this and its hard to hide from day to day...
It's good you're going to counseling, even though it'll be hard to wait to deal with these things until the end of the month.
In the meantime...try to take care of yourself. Ironically, he may appreciate more if you put your own needs first, instead of asking him for something he can't or doesn't want to give right now, and instead of letting him know you are taking care of him and your kids. (Obviously, continue to care for your kids).
Try to get a clear handle on what you hope to gain from working together at your marriage, and bring that to counseling.
In the fight where you took off your rings, you both crossed the line into saying and doing things that made the other feel unappreciated. You both reacted to each other. But it sounds like you want to forgive and be forgiven and move on, and he's not willing or able to right now.
Or maybe he, like my husband, believes that "moving on" means not discussing it at all. I'm learning to strike a balance between discussing something till I feel it's resolved, and respecting his limits for those conversations.
You said, "I tried to tell him yesterday that I was lonely without him and that I felt like he didn't care an ounce for me and he told me that my feelings were crazy, he was a good man and he had done nothing wrong."
He took this as an attack or criticism of him. He defended himself by telling you that you're wrong for feeling that way. It might go better if you told him you were lonely without him and that you want something specific to help you feel more connected--like a hug when he gets home from work, or a night of watching a movie together...instead of telling him you feel he doesn't care an ounce for you. Just like his telling you you're "crazy," telling him he doesn't care, invalidates his feelings too. Just because he doesn't show it in certain ways (and I'm not saying you're wrong for wanting him to), doesn't mean he doesn't care.
He tells you he's a good man who has done nothing wrong. Even if you feel he's being unfair, try to notice and let him know the things he does do right...even if he just grunts in reply.
It is a good sign that he's going to counseling with you, and even more so that he sees a problem, and distinguished between parents-in-relationship and married couple.
That means he wants things to be better and he's not content with the lack of connection. He just doesn't know how to fix it, so he avoids it. You, on the other hand, want to fix it by talking about something that was painful for both of you.
With counseling and getting some tools, it is possible to find ways to be connected, get both of your needs met, and communicate better, that BOTH of you are comfortable with.
Since my husband and I have started counseling, we still get derailed with fights, but we are balancing that out with little tools.
For example, we had a big fight Monday night. Obviously this made me very unhappy and I would've preferred we talked it out to peaceful loving resolution and connection (like you). I could explain and explain my feelings till I was blue in the face (and I have), but that only pushes my husband further away, the opposite effect I hope for.
I knew that come Tuesday night, he'd want to move on as if nothing had happened (not talk about it, like your husband), and I would want to discuss it and make peace.
But instead of pushing him, I let him have some time to himself, and then connected with him in a nonverbal way; just sat next to him on the couch. Because I didn't come to him with any of MY needs, he opened his arms to me.
Later, I used one of the positive tools we're learning in therapy--tell each other what you appreciate about each other daily.
After I told him something I appreciated, he told me he appreciated that I had NOT brought up last night's argument. To which I replied, "Yes, that was hard for me because I wanted to. But because I knew you wouldn't be able to talk about it tonight" (drained after a 12-hour day at work), "I didn't bring it up."
He wasn't happy with my response: he said I should ALSO not want to talk about it, and that my holding back for HIS sake isn't a good reason.
Know what? So what. Let him think that. Basically, it means neither of us is comfortable with the other person's way of dealing with a conflict from the day before. That's not perfect, but for now, it's okay, because hopefully we're on our way to figuring out what works for BOTH of us.
Sure, ideally I'd like for him to completely validate my feelings and appreciate that I sacrificed my own need to discuss for him. But for now I can accept his discomfort with it--because it is HIS discomfort to deal with, not mine.
When I proclaim something I feel is terrible, our therapist says, "That's ok for now." I'm learning to accept some things *right now* as "good, for now" and trust that if I can accept what IS in the present, then it opens the way for growth, more than trying to push for what I hope or want to happen.
I'm only sharing some of my own situatoin with you to let you know that counseling can help, and that if you're willing to make some adjustments, things can get better.
Thanks for sharing your own experiences. It helps to know that I'm not the only one out there that is having trouble.
I was reading a book that talked about "fake it till you make it" meaning that you put things aside until a more appropriate time to talk, like with a counselor. Acting happy if you want to be happy and so on... I try to remember this and go on about my day but sometimes it just hits me so hard. I have no family or close friends here (we are 4 hours away from our home) and when I have days like yesterday when we are in the same house all day and have NO physical contact or conversation it just reminds me that I literally have no one.
I'm going to try and do like you said and just take care of myself. Maybe if I'm open and available, not weepy and needy, we can move forward.
That book sounds good.
I know how it feels to be far from family. I am VERY close to my family, and we live several hours from them too.
Is it possible for you to specifically schedule things to go out and do for yourself on your husband's days off? It could be a good way to replace those unhappy days of being home together without any contact; instead, enjoy your day, even if you have to go out on your own to enjoy it. Let him see that there is something else important and worth your time outside of your house--even if it's just Christmas shopping or going to the gym--in fact, this can be the NICEST way to spend a couple hours on your own, if you're fortunate enough to belong to a good gym.
If he's not willing or able to be home with the kids for a couple hours, do you have anyone who can baby-sit?
Tell him, "Honey, I'm planning to go do xyz. Would you mind hanging out with the kids while I do?" If he balks, say, "Ok. I'll get a sitter so I can still go."
I hope things are getting better and that you and your husband have had a better time since your last post.