Separation is fresh, confusion is not. HELP! - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-08-2017, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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Separation is fresh, confusion is not. HELP!

On Jan 30, my husband and I got into another ugly fight. He had been drinking at the golf course and was visibly belligerent.

My phone was on silent and I had no idea where it was, so I asked to use his phone to make sure I hadn't lost it elsewhere (I had searched every nook and cranny in our home). He obliged and I unlocked the phone to find anal porn. I think masturbation is a healthy outlet and have no problem with it. The problem I had is that A) our love life has devolved to me begging for it and finally getting it once a month, and B) he has always claimed that that stuff (anal) disgusts him. I felt like our intimacy had been replaced by something he doesn't even enjoy and it hurt immensely. Of course, he was defensive--either out of embarrassment, or anger--and we had our worst fight ever. Things were said by him that cannot just be swept under the rug. I have separated from him physically, I guess to show him what life is like without me around.

Given the circumstances: his increased drinking, increased time away from home, increased agitation towards me, and general increasing lack of respect (he lately frequents Hooters with coworkers and comes home very late sometimes), I had had it. I packed a suitcase and headed to my parents' house. Sleeping in another room and talking about it later has not seemed to work--no consequences, no desire to change. I told him I would come home only after he talks to someone about his drinking, his admitted depression and anger due to a simply awful period of childhood abuse and trauma, and his commitment to the marriage. I'm tired of nagging a grown man to treat me with at least the same decency as his dogs.

He has since told me that he wants to get help, but can't find the time. He has said "being apart has made me realize how much I love you and don't want to lose you. Even when I go to the grocery store, I wish you were there with me. I see you and think of you everywhere I go. I will get help, I just need time." When I went to get more of my things, I tried to explain how to make a certain dish that he likes that is easy, but he said "I will just wait until you make it and we have it together." In person, he seems distraught and loving and remorseful. As soon as I left though, I hear nothing from him. He goes to work, goes to the gym, goes to the sporting goods store, googles golf clubs, pays the bills, talks to his brother on the phone...he isn't calling a therapist. He isn't looking into AA. He seems to be "life as usual". It's making me feel completely unloved and forgotten, like our marriage isn't important to him. Like he thinks I'll just get bored and come home with my tail between my legs. Of course I'm no psychic, but it just seems like he is being stagnant. I am ripped in two, with one half feeling more and more inclined to file for divorce from a man that doesn't know I exist and moving on in life, and the other half reeling in despair and checking my phone every half hour.

He insists that I continue to use the bank card and he refuses to sign anything I have drafted up--paperwork that would PROTECT HIM in the event of a divorce, saying I will not pursue spousal support and I will sign a quit claim to the deed. He says to just give it time. But I don't understand why he is sorting out HIS feelings? Why is there no action? Why is he content to just carry on as if nothing has happened?

I'm so confused and it breaks my heart to think I mean nothing to him. I sent a message to him yesterday asking when he is going to call a counselor. He responded "why are you acting like this?"

I broke down and told him that my heart is broken and that I wish he would call and tell me that he loves me and misses me and is going to do whatever it takes to never lash out at me to that extent again. After no response, I meekly told him I had to go "no contact" because it hurts too much to share my heart and be met with mundane normalcy and inactivity. He has not responded since.



My rational brain says give it time, he isn't actively seeking divorce, he has said he will do what it takes, and in fact he is respecting your wishes in not speaking to you.
But my heart SCREAMS it's over, he doesn't really love me and want to be with me, and I am only prolonging the inevitable.

Please offer your two cents, your criticism, your words of encouragement. Anything. I can't get in to see my own therapist until next Thursday (but at least I made the appointment! Ahhh, this is exactly what I mean.), and in the meantime, I am driving myself crazy.

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-08-2017, 11:46 PM
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Re: Separation is fresh, confusion is not. HELP!

Its just been a few days. My feeling is give it 6 months, and if he still hasn't bothered to make any effort to get help for his issues then you may need to think of ending it.
Just tell him that if/when he had been getting help for his many issues for some time, then you may be able to think of reconciling. Then its up to him.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-08-2017, 11:59 PM
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Re: Separation is fresh, confusion is not. HELP!

ems,
Sorry to hear about your separation and the problems with your husband. His failure to seek help is an obvious problem. It is encouraging that he recognizes that there is a problem, but he does not seem to want to change. The fact that you go to therapy and he won't also shows that you are committed to improving yourself and the relationship in a way that he is not.

It seems like you're at a stage where this could go in different directions. He might finally go and seek the help he needs, but you definitely need to stand firm about it. I don't know how long you can wait it out before you give up.

As a guy, I would advise you to be much more worried about the partying and hanging out with friends excessively than the porn on the phone. Sometimes we look at all kinds of stuff, half in amazement more than anything else, and it doesn't really reflect our values. Not that it isn't wrong. However, spending most of his meaningful social time with others and not you is much worse and puts real distance between you.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 12:18 AM
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Re: Separation is fresh, confusion is not. HELP!

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Originally Posted by ems1221 View Post
On Jan 30, my husband and I got into another ugly fight. He had been drinking at the golf course and was visibly belligerent.

My phone was on silent and I had no idea where it was, so I asked to use his phone to make sure I hadn't lost it elsewhere (I had searched every nook and cranny in our home). He obliged and I unlocked the phone to find anal porn. I think masturbation is a healthy outlet and have no problem with it. The problem I had is that A) our love life has devolved to me begging for it and finally getting it once a month, and B) he has always claimed that that stuff (anal) disgusts him. I felt like our intimacy had been replaced by something he doesn't even enjoy and it hurt immensely. Of course, he was defensive--either out of embarrassment, or anger--and we had our worst fight ever. Things were said by him that cannot just be swept under the rug. I have separated from him physically, I guess to show him what life is like without me around.

Given the circumstances: his increased drinking, increased time away from home, increased agitation towards me, and general increasing lack of respect (he lately frequents Hooters with coworkers and comes home very late sometimes), I had had it. I packed a suitcase and headed to my parents' house. Sleeping in another room and talking about it later has not seemed to work--no consequences, no desire to change. I told him I would come home only after he talks to someone about his drinking, his admitted depression and anger due to a simply awful period of childhood abuse and trauma, and his commitment to the marriage. I'm tired of nagging a grown man to treat me with at least the same decency as his dogs.

He has since told me that he wants to get help, but can't find the time. He has said "being apart has made me realize how much I love you and don't want to lose you. Even when I go to the grocery store, I wish you were there with me. I see you and think of you everywhere I go. I will get help, I just need time." When I went to get more of my things, I tried to explain how to make a certain dish that he likes that is easy, but he said "I will just wait until you make it and we have it together." In person, he seems distraught and loving and remorseful. As soon as I left though, I hear nothing from him. He goes to work, goes to the gym, goes to the sporting goods store, googles golf clubs, pays the bills, talks to his brother on the phone...he isn't calling a therapist. He isn't looking into AA. He seems to be "life as usual". It's making me feel completely unloved and forgotten, like our marriage isn't important to him. Like he thinks I'll just get bored and come home with my tail between my legs. Of course I'm no psychic, but it just seems like he is being stagnant. I am ripped in two, with one half feeling more and more inclined to file for divorce from a man that doesn't know I exist and moving on in life, and the other half reeling in despair and checking my phone every half hour.

He insists that I continue to use the bank card and he refuses to sign anything I have drafted up--paperwork that would PROTECT HIM in the event of a divorce, saying I will not pursue spousal support and I will sign a quit claim to the deed. He says to just give it time. But I don't understand why he is sorting out HIS feelings? Why is there no action? Why is he content to just carry on as if nothing has happened?

I'm so confused and it breaks my heart to think I mean nothing to him. I sent a message to him yesterday asking when he is going to call a counselor. He responded "why are you acting like this?"

I broke down and told him that my heart is broken and that I wish he would call and tell me that he loves me and misses me and is going to do whatever it takes to never lash out at me to that extent again. After no response, I meekly told him I had to go "no contact" because it hurts too much to share my heart and be met with mundane normalcy and inactivity. He has not responded since.



My rational brain says give it time, he isn't actively seeking divorce, he has said he will do what it takes, and in fact he is respecting your wishes in not speaking to you.
But my heart SCREAMS it's over, he doesn't really love me and want to be with me, and I am only prolonging the inevitable.

Please offer your two cents, your criticism, your words of encouragement. Anything. I can't get in to see my own therapist until next Thursday (but at least I made the appointment! Ahhh, this is exactly what I mean.), and in the meantime, I am driving myself crazy.
I agree with the other poster who said the hanging out with co-workers at Hooters and coming home very late is more troubling. The anal porn is obviously a problem too if it hurt you, but the other behavior indicates there might be another woman or that he's actively trying to make that happen. It seems that from your post you have access to his phone records; any suspicious numbers?

My advice would be to detach from him and your expectations about how he should respond. It's totally understandable that you'd want certain things from him at this point (It's only been 9 days since the fight), but it's way too early to expect a change. Even if he had called a therapist, seen him or her, gone to AA and all that, it wouldn't matter at this point. He will need time to prove to you that he can change his pattern of behavior. If you rushed back together now he wouldn't be ready to make a long term commitment to that change.

It is disheartening that he hasn't taken steps to do that yet. Why does he feel like he doesn't have the time for it? You can almost always find a therapist that offers late hours or weekends and his work would probably understand if he was able to be honest about your situation.

Back to detaching, just try to start doing things you enjoy and work toward freeing yourself of worrying about him. It's hard, really hard. I'm 5 months post separation and in the middle of a divorce and I'm still very much struggling, but it has gotten easier over time by focusing on me.

How long has your love life been devolving into you begging for it and receiving it once a month? Has it been months? Years? Is there any trigger or coinciding behavior (he started dressing nicer, going to the gym more, getting a haircut etc.) that might indicate a third party?

It's painful stuff to think about but I'm willing to bet you'll be able to find something if you retrace the past a bit.

Really sorry you're going through this. Hopefully we can all help you out.

Last edited by golfpanther; 02-09-2017 at 12:45 AM.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 07:16 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Separation is fresh, confusion is not. HELP!

Thank you everyone for your replies.

Nothing strange on the phone records. He has always been preoccupied with his looks.

Says his work hours are too crazy but I have mentioned that counseling can have weekend appointments. I just feel like I am getting lip service.

I broke down and sent him a message last night that I wanted to know if he seriously wants this to work or if he is just saying that. He has read it, but not responded.

I could wait years for him if he was actually taking action to do the things that our marriage needs. But if he won't, then I can't. I just don't understand the mixed signals. Why is he refusing to sign any paperwork even if it protects him? Why does he still want me using our joint bank cards?
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 07:28 AM
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Re: Separation is fresh, confusion is not. HELP!

You will go crazy trying to figure out why he does things. What you should ask yourself is why you are tolerating this. He doesn't think you're serious. And right now, he is living the single life, well he was doing that before you left. You want to get his attention, serve his immature a$$ with divorce papers. As the wise on TAM say, sometimes you have to be willing to lose your marriage in order to save it.

ETA: The mixed signals are to keep you in the marriage. You're his plan b. Watch his actions, words mean nothing.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 07:41 AM
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Re: Separation is fresh, confusion is not. HELP!

The fact that he went silent on you should tell you how much he wants to work on it. (sorry)
He could be busy drinking himself stupid. Do you think that he's an alcoholic? Read up on Alcoholism; it'll help you understand the impact that it has on him and on relationships.

BTW, he doesn't have the time to get counseling because he doesn't want to stop drinking.

"Life always offers you a second chance. It's called tomorrow."
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 10:44 AM
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Re: Separation is fresh, confusion is not. HELP!

Hell, I wouldnt wait 6 months, file for divorce NOW. His action have made clear where you stand on his priority list, and that is squarely at the BOTTOM of it. His words mean nothing. You will make yourself crazy trying to fight to make him acknowledge you, so do yourself a favor and end this. Life is too short for this bullsh!t.

Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.


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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 02:57 PM
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Re: Separation is fresh, confusion is not. HELP!

Temporary change is easy but permanent change is hard work. Maybe he thinks a few weak words will substitute for some strong actions and you'll be home soon (based on those weak words) so his life can return to normal.

It's up to him if he really wants to save your marriage. Don't contact him.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 03:53 PM
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Re: Separation is fresh, confusion is not. HELP!

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Originally Posted by ems1221 View Post
Thank you everyone for your replies.

Nothing strange on the phone records. He has always been preoccupied with his looks.

Says his work hours are too crazy but I have mentioned that counseling can have weekend appointments. I just feel like I am getting lip service.

I broke down and sent him a message last night that I wanted to know if he seriously wants this to work or if he is just saying that. He has read it, but not responded.

I could wait years for him if he was actually taking action to do the things that our marriage needs. But if he won't, then I can't. I just don't understand the mixed signals. Why is he refusing to sign any paperwork even if it protects him? Why does he still want me using our joint bank cards?
He doesn't want to sign any papers or change anything because he has you hooked and he knows it. He can go off and do whatever he wants right now knowing (and this could change) that you'd take him back. That level of power over someone is intoxicating. My STBXW sent me what I perceived to be every mixed signal you could possibly imagine for the first three months of our separation. But really, they weren't that mixed; it was just the behavior of someone that knew she had complete control over me to do as she pleased.

At this point any request of yours that he honors relinquishes a measure of the control he has over you. Look, he probably doesn't totally know what he wants from this either. But he does know he has complete control. Humans crave it and will want to keep it if that's the status quo.

That's why we're all saying to go out and live your own life. You've made the things you want clear, and now he can either choose to take steps to meet you in the middle and overcome your struggles... or he won't and you'll need to move on with your life.

Hope it gets better for you.

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 08:50 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Separation is fresh, confusion is not. HELP!

I'm sure this is a big no no, but cut me some slack--it's only been ~2 weeks and I still have strong feelings of love for my husband.

I went back to the house upon invitation to talk. He told me he is taking steps to do those things that I need and that he wants to stay married and be happier together. Took responsibility for his actions for the first time ever without immediately blaming my bad behavior for his. I conceded that we have been unhappy for a while and I can understand I was a difficult person to want to come home to. I promised him that when my therapy begins next week that my focus will be on my trust issues and my passive aggressive tendencies. Who wants to come home to someone that will argue with you and then spend the night in another room? I drink beer everyday as a "self medicated anxiolytic", have I encouraged his own drinking habits? A lot of blame on ourselves and a renewed commitment to getting back to the people we were when we first fell in love. I was an independent career woman, who was fine alone or in a crowd, had a bubbling social life and made friends with everyone. After we were dating a year, I went back to school and became largely dependent on my husband for social, emotional, financial support--which in retrospect, though he helped me, I resented him for being the sole earner. He was a carefree happy guy that seemed to have only one wish--to see me smile, and he was always busy working on something that he thought would improve our lives. After marriage, we bought a house together and his focus turned to working long hours to pay bills, support a 0 income wife who cries all the time--he resented me for my dependency on him. We had let ourselves slip out of love and into function.
After the talking, he hugged and held me for about 2 hours talking about his commitment to getting back. Said his goal is to begin dating me in a month and have me move back in by our anniversary in May.

After all the tears on my part and reassurance on his part was subsided, he began throwing out ideas for a new living room suit, and wanting to know if I'd like it. Not sure if that constitutes "talking about a future with me in it", but it was still nice to not talk about us for a minute.

Overall, he has said that he wants to do whatever it takes to be together and be happy again, but that he needs time to make that happen. Really makes me feel like the irrational one, but I just wanted some assurance that he was on the same page as me.

Guess it is too early to make any concrete analysis, but these are good signs I think.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 10:13 AM
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Re: Separation is fresh, confusion is not. HELP!

In your place I would not let him call the shots about when you date again or come home(which he is trying to do). I would give it a year away to make sure he is really working on things. He says he needs time, no he doesn't, he can make the decision to stop drinking and stop the porn today if he really wanted to.

My criteria for coming back would be would be
a)he has stopped the drinking for at least 6 months
b)he agreed to no more porn of any kind ever, also
c)no more visiting hooters or similar ever.

For me personally I would not be with a man who looked at porn or went to places like hooters.
Its so disrespectful and unloving. I would rather be single.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-11-2017, 03:29 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Separation is fresh, confusion is not. HELP!

I appreciate your point of view.

But I cannot say without a shadow of a doubt that I would not have gone to Tallywhackers and male reviews if they were as prevalent in my area as men's entertainment.

I think a 6 month timeline is reasonable, and have voiced that our anniversary does not have to be a deadline. It is good to have and express goals, but they should align with mine as well. And that is to allow enough time for proof of a real desire to change without imposing dates on said change. I mean, what does our anniversary really mean if the dedication to marriage isn't there?

I went to a friend's house tonight and she was incredibly easy to talk to and be around--which is nice, considering that I have boxed myself into a corner by telling too much to my family. I have planned a girls only slumber party with another friend and have vowed not to tarnish her new marriage with my own feelings of discontent. I am learning to be appropriate and earnest without harm.

As for porn, I watch it. I enjoy it. As for Hooters, I think the food is second rate and the only appeal is the uniform. I just detest the idea that it may be slowly replacing me. I don't want my husband to stop being who he is and be "a good boy". I want him to want to choose me over the other pressing urges. And I have decided that no man will ever choose a nagging wife over a night of fun and carefree. I trust him, I just don't like what it represents, and that it is preferred over me. But I am taking a hard look at my own influence over that preference.

I can only hope that he is doing the same.

Thank you all for your advice and consideration. Wish me luck in the coming months that I might come to know truth and embrace it.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-11-2017, 04:11 AM
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Re: Separation is fresh, confusion is not. HELP!

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Originally Posted by ems1221 View Post
I appreciate your point of view.

But I cannot say without a shadow of a doubt that I would not have gone to Tallywhackers and male reviews if they were as prevalent in my area as men's entertainment.

I think a 6 month timeline is reasonable, and have voiced that our anniversary does not have to be a deadline. It is good to have and express goals, but they should align with mine as well. And that is to allow enough time for proof of a real desire to change without imposing dates on said change. I mean, what does our anniversary really mean if the dedication to marriage isn't there?

I went to a friend's house tonight and she was incredibly easy to talk to and be around--which is nice, considering that I have boxed myself into a corner by telling too much to my family. I have planned a girls only slumber party with another friend and have vowed not to tarnish her new marriage with my own feelings of discontent. I am learning to be appropriate and earnest without harm.

As for porn, I watch it. I enjoy it. As for Hooters, I think the food is second rate and the only appeal is the uniform. I just detest the idea that it may be slowly replacing me. I don't want my husband to stop being who he is and be "a good boy". I want him to want to choose me over the other pressing urges. And I have decided that no man will ever choose a nagging wife over a night of fun and carefree. I trust him, I just don't like what it represents, and that it is preferred over me. But I am taking a hard look at my own influence over that preference.

I can only hope that he is doing the same.

Thank you all for your advice and consideration. Wish me luck in the coming months that I might come to know truth and embrace it.
OK, we have very different ideas of what is and isnt acceptable in marriage.
I am glad to have a 'good boy' who doesn't look at porn nor go to places like hooters(we don't have hooters here).
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-11-2017, 05:01 AM
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Cool Re: Separation is fresh, confusion is not. HELP!

In defense of Hooter's, IMHO, they are not as bad as some folks would make them out to be!

But if your H is conversely deemed to be one of its patrons, all while being either an alcoholic or a sexual pervert, or perhaps both, then let's just say that the establishment would then become potentially terrible for his own well-being!

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