So I've been around the block more than my husband has, and I'll be the first to acknowledge I've got scars from my previous encounters. But I've also gained some blessings: mandatory communication classes was one of them.
And I know I'm not perfect. I have my moments same as anybody else. I'm also the one used to being in charge when it comes to the house. I don't have a lot of friends - mind you I don't particularly go hunting trying to make friends because of how busy I am. And as I get older I find myself more and more like Gretta Garbo.
My husband is a very devoting and loving man. He just doesn't listen. And by that I don't mean I chat at him constantly and he drones out my voice - I'm too busy for that. I mean he nods his head and says "right" on important matters, never remembers the conversation, and quietly acts like I'm wrong about *everything*. The most recent example of that is my printer: it's a Lexmark and when we first bought it we found out it has this annoying habit of deciding the cartridges are out of toner before it's out. My husband had researched the problem and found out what to do when it does that. So when it started doing it yesterday, I waited patiently for him to come home and fix it. He came home and didn't want to explore the problem, had forgotten all about the problem, and wanted to just slap a new toner cartridge in without trying - which, you understand, we're flat broke. I'd rather save $30 and milk the old toner. Which I told him as much. Then I took it out and told him what I'd done and what was happening and suggested perhaps the machine needed cleaning, and explained how toner was all over *everything* in the machine from the cartridge. But that I didn't know how to clean the machine. Could we try that before wasting money we didn't have?
And he said, "That's not toner. That's a blue sponge." Meaning the cartridge I was holding.
And I said, "No, there's toner all over the inside of the machine." And I pointed to the inside of the machine.
And he said, "That's not toner, that's a blue sponge."
And I said, "It's dark so you probably can't see the inside, but there's toner all over everything. Maybe toner got on the chips?"
And he said, "that's not toner.... etc."
And I just lost it. I told him to go away. He wouldn't. He got mad because I no longer wanted his "help". And I finally lost my temper: insert worst fight we've ever had there.
The printer is just a small thing to a large problem. He's active military and we moved to Fort Polk several months ago. He's terrible with keeping up with time, so I have to keep up with that for him. I've had E7's yell at me, we've had people we're trying to socialize with tell him to "ditch the family" and come play alone (for the society for creative anachronism), and don't get me started on the meat and potato sexism here. I've been told in no uncertain terms he needed to go places without me, and countless people have tried to interfere with our marriage and tell him we should have separate bank accounts and I should "just be given an allowance".
Except: 80% of his check goes to the mortgage of a house we're not living in. The rest goes to the car payment. I'm an artist by trade. 100% of my money is what's guying our food, the car insurance, lights, credit card bills, gas to the stupid SCA meetings, etc. I'm pulling 12 to 18 hour days to make what I make, to keep our heads above water.
We were wonderful before we came here. Then he started telling me about the pressure he was being put in to "straighten out" what was once a happy marriage. Then he started with little comments about how he was the boss of the house. And lately it's constantly about how hard he works (he goes to the shop, sits on Facebook most days, has long weekends, comes home, fools around on the computer) and how easy I have it because I can go to sleep when I want to or take a break when I want to. I apparently don't work at all.
He was already passive aggressive with how right he was. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you if I told him there was a thunderstorm in the sky, he'd decide it was something else and double check the weather. There have been countless times I spent hours researching something and gathered the information, presented it, and had him not even LOOK at my effort and do what he wanted. And mess things up royally, by the way! I won't let him work on my computers anymore. I've lost too much time and money!
Bringing him back to the SCA was probably the death nail in this coffin. That's all he talks about. Which I'm okay with listening to it, and his wants, the armor he'd like to have. But there's something seriously wrong with, "I had a nightmare last night" and getting "Yeah. Oh I found a helmet I wanted!"
In bed I'm just not happy. I've tried all these four years to get him to understand how important foreplay is. He still dives in like I'm a swimming pool so that I lay there looking at the ceiling wishing he'd hurry up and get it over with. The other day I actually cried when it was over. He couldn't even notice the tears in my eyes.
I can't turn to him for anything anymore. I might as well tell the wall what's going on. There were spiritual things I thought we had in common, but now I think perhaps he was just wanting to please me. You know, the way you do to impress someone you want to date.
If I ask for his help with something and tell him something about it (work things like... hit ctrl-k and you can insert a hyperlink faster) I'm micromanaging things. But if I don't tell him what to do and go silent and wait for him to think for himself, then I'm in the wrong for not telling him what to do. If he offers his help and I accept, I'm the bad guy for not appreciating his efforts. If I tell him I got it and want to do something myself, I'm the bad guy for not wanting his help.
He gets mad that I don't want to hang around an E7 that berates me for drawing a doodle on a paper, saying that I never want to be around anyone. But if there comes someone I can slightly relate to and feel normal around, he suddenly gets too busy or ignores us for his stupid phone. And yes, I did finally check: he's texting those people who told him to straighten out our marriage a lot and to ditch the family.
He's constantly breaking agreements we'd had. There were some blank shield boards, for example, that we'd agreed I was going to paint to sell. This means they were my project. He gave one away last night without asking me. When I protested, he said he'd told me he was giving it away and that I "must not have heard" him. Which has become his excuse a LOT lately.
So that all I can do lately is feel alone, shouting in a crowd unheard, and emotionally abandoned.
Last night's argument literally lasted until dawn. AT first he was packing to move because he had too much integrity "for this". When he finally stopped that, I told him what my issues were. I explained that it wasn't the printer, it was a long series of issues that I laid down one by one in clear order. I used every communication trick I'd learned from those classes. I was concise, I recognized the problem, I used words like "I feel".
But no matter what I did, it always came back to him pushing my issue aside. He felt like I was micromanaging things, and that's his issue with me. I apparently control everything somehow while being permanently stuck to my wacom tablet. For example, somehow I'm controlling the auction of his 40K figures while not even knowing the password to his account nor even how much money he's making off of them.
Well I can't make him feel differently, and the only way I can back completely out of my part of any situations is to stop accepting and asking for his help entirely. To just split our marriage into the two separate lives everyone we're in contact with feels is normal. And I'm so hurt I don't want him in my world anymore anyway, so I told him he'd get his space. Just not as mean as I wanted to say it.
My issues were NEVER addressed. They were nodded at and then they became his problem. For example, I told him I felt emotionally abandoned because I couldn't turn to him or talk to him anymore. So suddenly he felt like there was a wall and I'd been pushing him away all these four years. 12 hours later - yes 12 hours - I got tired of repeating myself and gave up. So then suddenly I was the bad guy because I refused to tell him my problem.
So I asked him, "Alright, you tell me why I can't tell you what my problem is."
Silence. So I asked, "Do you just not know, did you not listen, or what?"
And he said - and I can't remember the words so this is as close as I can get it - "I know you said things that you THINK are why."
Which meant to me - no matter what he may have thought he was saying - that I'm so wrong about everything I don't even know my own feelings.
Today he tried to shower me with attention and affection and wouldn't even let me push the shopping cart myself. But I just don't feel up to those gestures anymore, not if it's apparent I'm going to micromanage how he pushes the cart or something. I can do things myself. I'm not that helpless.
Tonight was my daughter's Jr. Prom. I've got a migraine but was staying up anyway. HE fell asleep on the couch. When he woke up because of the TV, he told me that I needed to go to bed that he'd wait up for the girl. I told him I didn't really want him to do that, because I was going to stay up. No I wasn't nice. I wasn't mean either. Just blunt with as few words as possible. Seems he listens to THAT.
There was no argument there. It was just me, staying up to get a commission done despite a handicap and not really willing to go to sleep when my daughter might call needing help.
He waited a while. Then he got up and announced, "I'm tired of arguing with you. I'm only trying to help. So I'm going to bed." And off he went, sulking.
I've done a lot of research tonight trying to find the solution for a man whose letting peer pressure crumble a marriage and can't get over himself enough to recognize that someone else might be right for a change. All I've found are a lot of articles about how *I* need to change and learn to communicate on his level, and to listen to him and let him dominate me, control the marriage, blah de blah blah.
Yeah. I fell for that with some other relationships. I was always the one who changed. And then I was always the one left holding the bag. ME changing is not the problem here. Especially if I'm following the so-called communication rules.
It takes TWO to tango. Only he's not tangoing here. He's decided he's going to disco without me.
I'm as blunt as I can be, and that's one reason why there aren't many people in my life. I also don't chatter his ears off. I don't hand him meaningless topics. I handle my work, I play games he likes, and I am trying to survive here. HE on the other hand could have actually cared when I had a nightmare the other night that had me sitting up in bed, scared out of my wits. Seems to me that's more important than a stupid helmet we can't afford. Settle the nightmares and the sorrow first. Worry about material crap later. There's PLENTY of time to talk about armor around that.
So I am seriously questioning tonight if I even want to try anymore. And it seriously bothers me that since I'm not letting him push me this time about it and have decided to stand my ground over my feelings, he's acting like we shouldn't bother either.
Done ranting. Pretty sure no one can help, being as he's the one that has to admit there's a problem. Not you guys. Thanks for listening. Needed that.
Location: On a clear day, I can see Mt. Rainier ... but you can't count on the days to be clear here ...
Re: Passive Aggressively Right
It seems that there is more than one person unwilling to accept the other person's expressions of need or affection. One example I see in what you are writing is where he wanted to do things like push the shopping cart. Instead of recognizing this as his attempt to express some love toward you, you interpreted this some other way, and express this as "I'm not that helpless." What do you think he was thinking.
Neither of you are going to get everything the way you want it to be all of the time. It will almost never go 100% one way or the other in any single incident either. I'm always cognizant when I read these things that there is another viewpoint that is not represented in this post. If your husband was posting, what would he be saying about these things you are expressing? Is there something in here that maybe you also need to understand about him? If you're not chattering, I really have a hard time understanding how some of these things are lasting 12 hours, for example. What happened in those 12 hours? What was important to your husband during this time? I'm not seeing that expressed.
I'm not saying that your husband is perfect, either.
So what would you like to accomplish on this board? What do you need to express for that to be accomplished? What would your husband express if he got the chance to express his side honestly?
EDIT: This is going to be a hit and run post for me. My lady is waiting for me to come to bed, and I'm going to oblige her so I don't need to make a troubled post on here myself. Hopefully, my post just gets the conversation going and someone else can jump in and be helpful with you from this point.
Thanks for replying. To be honest I wasn't expecting one. Rant coming forthwith: want to tell you it's not aimed at any one person in particular. Just at the world.
Oh, the shopping cart? Any OTHER day he doesn't want to push the cart for me. So then you basically tell a woman for 12 hours straight her issues aren't important because you feel like she's micromanaging everything and then, when she finally gives up, get mad because she doesn't want to tell you yet again what she's been telling you for a full day. It's not a matter of accepting feelings of love at that point. It's a matter of misplaced gestures and suddenly trying to act like everything is fine when you've given her a very deep wound she's not exactly going to be magically over in the four hours since she gave up. Maybe he sees it as a gesture of love, but over here I'm just even more hurt that he'd have the nerve to shower me with extra attention when what I really wanted was for him to do more than "hear" me. It was like the parent who breaks their child's arm that buys them a toy out of guilt. As I told him when I gave up, maybe I was wrong about the printer. I could be wrong about the breaks on the car (I was right btw but he still hasn't admitted that), but I'm NOT wrong about how I feel.
Anyway, when I do accept those little gestures or ask for help it's GREAT - until he decides he has a problem. What I forgot to mention earlier was he also accused me of treating him like a servant. His words. It's not the first time. So with that I'm wrong to accept his help or ask for it and now I'm wrong for not wanting it. I'm the bad guy no matter which way I go here.
It was 12 hours because I told him my issues - they're a LOT of issues, understand. More than his three. FAR more than his three. I explained everyone. I gave examples. I laid it out as scientifically as possible.
And then he'd say "Well my issues are these three."
And I'd say "Um... it was my turn and these are my issues."
And then he'd say something that amounted to how wrong I was. And then I'd lay them out again. And he'd brush them aside again.
Even when he finally got his way and his issues came first (even though I went first) it wasn't enough. Even after I gave him the solution he wanted and the bend he seemed to desire, he always went back to his stance, his issues, his feelings. It didn't matter what I said or how I presented it. I was doomed.
Then we slept for a little bit. Texted a bit. And at lunch yesterday we tried again. And that's when I finally gave up. To which he also got angry.
So yes. 12 hours. Not chatter. Chatter would be if I talked constantly to him about something idiotic like what my girlfriends were doing. Well. I'm done talking. It's a complete waste of time.
I accept his love all of the time - although right now with how I'm feeling I regret ever accepting it in the first place 4 years ago. And before this matter started to build, there was a lot of give and take. And I do appreciate when he helps around the house. He gets showered with return affection and offers to give him what he wants. If he decides he has a future goal, I'm right there to back him up. (Those goals are usually forgotten and then he goes on this trip of how he never does anything right and no one would like anything HE did.)
I've kept my unhappiness to myself because I've tried to tell him when I have an issue before, and he always got on the defensive. And my issues always got replaced with his issues, which got solved. Meanwhile I was the one wanting to cry.
I'm never going to appreciate it when he preaches at me about how I don't work and have it easy - or when he echoes any of the sentiments of the guys around him really. That's not love. Each and every one of them have very unhappy marriages and were miserable when we met them. One is going through his second divorce. In the beginning my husband scoffed at their situations and how they had the nerve to tell us how to live. Then, slowly, he started to be like them. And now I'm ready to move out.
I've never felt more alone than I do right now. The other night one of his good buddies turned around and berated me because I'd made a joke, and he just stood right there. He has always just stood right there. I've asked him about it and he says "I never noticed." And I want to rip his face off screaming, "Was your mind abducted by aliens?? You were standing right there!"
What would he say if he were here? Well "micromanaging" is his word. "Brick wall" for his 2nd issue is also his word. "Pushing him away" also his words. So your guess is as good as mine. I can tell you firmly: I'm not interested in hearing his side anymore. I was and I've heard it many many times. Then his side became more important than when I said "I felt raped". And his side became more important than "it's like you emotionally abandoned me". Not accepting his feelings? I accepted his feelings when I told him I wasn't going to "micromanage" things anymore as best I could. I didn't like it, because it meant I can't go with him anywhere anymore or really participate in much anymore. That's literally the only way to back out and let him manage whatever it is I'm controlling. And he got *mad* at that. So I suppose in order to accept his feelings I have to stand and be a quiet, good little wife: seen and not heard? No.
Maybe where these rednecks come from, the wives bend and allow their world to be dominated. But where I come from and how I was raised is a completely different story. I've never bent his world completely to my upbringing out of respect for his feelings. I'll be d*** if my heart is going to be trampled constantly out of a petty need to be right.
I'm in this too. This isn't about him. It stopped being about him when I realized I was wasting my time repeating myself over and over again. My feelings count, too.
So what do I hope to accomplish? I honestly don't know. After hours of reading article after article about how I needed to change for him as if what he's doing wrong is perfectly alright and can just continue, I just wanted to rant. And this place seemed like a place where my feelings could be accepted for what they are: feelings. I truly don't think there's a solution - because the fingers are only getting pointed at me.
Well, I'm not bending any more for him. It isn't a matter of wanting to have it my way all of the time. I bend a lot for him, but there's a line that has to be drawn or I'm going to lose myself. So, no. I'm standing my ground here.
He's a SCA doper. If I'd known, I wouldn't be here.
I, too, got the same place: nowhere. "The sky is so blue today." Husband: "No, it's partly cloudy." Whatever ...
BTW, my husband was military (Army) too. He was trained to be right, make command decisions, and fit into the military hierarchy. I was up close and personal with a lot of military wives. None of us had it that rosey.
Some of it is just your husband's basic personality. But the military takes that personality and molds it into some of what you've got going on in your marriage.
There is a high rate of divorce in all branches of the service. No, I am not saying that it happens in all marriages, nor am I dissing our military. I was proud of my husband's service. Unfortunately, he brought his mindset into problems/issues with our marriage.
I was met with silence when I attempted to discuss any issues that were causing problems.
I got all sorts of passive-aggressive nonsense that boiled down to it being his way or the highway.
I eventually chose the highway.
I'd suggest you get into counseling. There are ways to cope with these issues. And, it DOES take two to tango. Some of the problem has to do with you. None of us are totally faultless when it comes to a breakdown in the marriage.
Thanks to everyone who has responded. The truth is I've been considering the highway all day.
I actually take the tactic of telling him less under normal circumstances. But it's a careful dance with him. If he decides I've "given up" and figure "why try" then he'll do exactly the same. And martyr himself for it the entire time. I did a lot of talking this time where I'd been keeping silent because it was just that important.
Saying it only once and going silent I think is where the micromanaging accusation comes from. If I say something once and let it go, he "forgets". So if it's an important issue like, say, that traffic ticket he's had in the truck for a while then I have to nag to get it done. If I don't the entire family pays the price.
Foreplay? Yeah: I've told him only once and left it alone. I see where that got me.
My issues: approached once and left alone more than once.
The truck ticket: I finally told him today that since it wasn't getting handled there would be larger consequences if he got arrested by the MP's like the last time he didn't handle a ticket.
He keeps approaching me today to talk to me, but I'm just a little too hurt today to be good company. He doesn't want to talk about the issues. When we did start talking about something I felt like talking about he shut it down with "I don't care" - so there went that.
We left for the store. I told him I needed to buy motrine for this stress headache this situation has put me in and to go to Goodwill and hope they have jeans my size. He took me to Goodwill. He likes Goodwill.. Then he asked where to next.
But that put me in the micromanaging position, you see. If I dictated our next move, I would be controlling things again. I'd told him once what was needed. So I told him I didn't know. And he got mad. We stopped at a gas station for pills and he asked what next and I didn't know for real that time, so told him whatever he wanted. And he got madder.
So yeah. I can't do anything right.
I recognize his first marriage was horrible. I remember when we first got married, I was trying to work on a commission and he decided to sit next to me. So I suggested that if he needed some "me time" to visit a friend, it was okay I was a big girl. His eyes just glassed over. That scared him to death. And over the years I've learned how he was treated by that woman. He was terribly abused.
And I know you'll carry residue over to relationships after that. He's often told me stories of that first wife, and I look at this situation now and I recognize some of her patterns.
But when it comes to counseling: that's not an easy choice. First he has to be willing to admit he's wrong. And in this, as long as Ive thought over it, you could never convince me otherwise. I don't care what those articles say about how I'm supposed to submit to my husband in some strange Western world way. Or change how I talk to him when it's gotten to the point that we don't talk at all.
I went to a marriage counselor once. That was a nightmare. One of the worst feelings you can have is when you know you're in a horribly abusive relationship (that man was so horrible when I finally could escape from him I wasn't even sure what sex I was anymore) and the counselor feeds him bad things to say to me because he's the "nice guy" and it was obvious I was the bad guy. Why look at how loudly I got upset at some of the things he did!
Well then, I think you have answered your own questions and solved the problem. Counseling doesn't work for you; it's not your cup of tea. Hey, that's fine. Your husband is driving you up a wall. Telling him something once doesn't get the desired results. You are frustrated and venting.
Maybe that's what you need to do here. I don't think you came here looking for advice. That's fine too.
But I lived the Army life for many years. I know the environment. If you think my insights or advice are sh!t, fine by me.
Maybe you should seek a temporary separation. Sounds like you need time to get away from your husband and decompress.
Like I said, it takes two to make a marriage non-functional. My husband was an officer and a gentleman. He was also a raging drunk. Sure, he trashed a large part of the marriage. But he didn't do it in a vacuum. I was there too. I can only own my part of the damage and keep it on my side of the street.
Wow. I don't think I want to trade places with you.
Yeah, I'd say get separate accounts too... but for your safety.. not for is control. Make him pay the gas to get to his damn SCA meetings himself. Pay your portion of the bills out of your account. Let the MP's come take him away because he's not paying the ticket.
Tell him you're done being his mom. HE can take care of his own ticket. HE can pay the consequences if he doesn't. He can treat you like a wife, or not treat you at all. (Sounds like you've already thought about detaching yourself emotionally).
Prodigal: actually I took your suggestions and everyone's and waited until he realized I wasn't going to approach the situation. You guys have all given me some awesome advice. Then I dropped the bomb on him.
I suggested counseling because after I'd vented and thought about it, I decided it couldn't hurt to try that route again. He doesn't seem to think that will help -ironic - but I put the suggestion to him.
I also told him that it all boiled down to respect. Remember when I told you guys he was a loving guy? Well, he is. So thanks to you guys I was able to express that all the pats on my head are nothing when my voice is being disrespected. All the offers of help do me no good when it's just thrown in my face later. And sometimes he wants to help me to the point of making me an invalid, which I'm too independent to like.
I don't know if I made any headway with him. He tried going back to his own issues again, and I flat told him it was my turn or nothing at all.
And at least one issue might have been resolved: the micromanaging one. I hope. Because that one bothered me the most, that he'd think that of me when all I'm doing is a traditional role kept by women where I come from for generations.
All I can do right now is wait and see if he digests my suggestion of counseling and if he heard me at all tonight. My migraine has already ebbed some.
I didn't come here for advice. I truly just needed to vent. But I thank you guys so much, because you helped me when I needed it the most. I truly was thinking perhaps divorce was inevitable.
I do know he and I have a lot of work to do at this stage. I don't know where to go from here, so I'm going to choose to wait.
Since you are the one posting, let me give you a suggestion: start communicating with him in a different way.
Reading your posts/vents (and there is nothing wrong with a good vent), I am struck that you appear to be doing the same thing over and over yet are upset that the result is not different. I understand that you think you have communicated the same thing a number of times, but consider that he is not receiving that communication. Perhaps your body language and tone are shutting him down (your tone here suggests you no longer respect him, so perhaps that is being communicated as well). Perhaps your actions are inconsistent with your language. Perhaps your actual words are not as clear as you think (another poster and I had different interpretations of "tired" a month ago). My point is that you may have different communication's styles, so changing what you are doing may help.
You are here, so you need to be the one that changes. I am not defending you husband nor am I thinking you are perfect (quite frankly, the printer episode sounded a bit like two adults treating each other as children). I am also not saying this will work. I am noting that doing the same think repeatedly, then wondering why it is not working, will get you no where. I do wish you luck.
Although I greatly appreciate the time you took to answer this post, I'm going to stand my ground, dang it. ;-) I don't normally stick to my guns, understand, but I'm going to this time.
The printer was brought up because it was the most recent example. How about:
One time in Hawaii he was driving down the road in his jeep. I was on the phone with him. And I could hear this sound. I asked what it was.
He said it was a tire.
I said that I knew that sound. Intimately, as a matter of fact. His tire was about to blow. He needed to get it changed.
He said that I was wrong. The tire was fine.
And right about then: it popped.
Better example? Funnier at the very least. ;-)
When he finally let me finish what I had to say because I refused to let him redirect, my issues were finally listened to. And then wowzers! Suddenly his issues became the ones being seriously resolved. Mine never got completely resolved, btw. Getting them resolved magically wasn't what I was expecting. I just wanted him to stf and truly listen.
When he shut up and seriously listened to my replies on his issues, he suddenly had less to complain about. I could go into one of them, but meh. I suspect that's not important here.
Sometimes the right communication tactics are pointless because they are being blatantly ignored. I'm not the best at it, but I wasn't thrust into several communication classes for nothing. I use what I learned to the best of my ability in these situations - except one, which I still have to work on. That would be walking away when too steamed to talk. I used to try that one, but he can't stand it so I've kind of been pressured into not using it. I'm sitting here considering that I'm going to have to try to remember to use that one again in the future. And as I told my husband I'd take the classes again with no sweat off my back: might be something in there I forgot.
And yes: what IS it with military guys these days. :-)
He furthered about counseling yet. But it's also too soon. He'll forget, though. So.