Hi I'm new to the forums. I'm struggling to keep my marriage together since the birth of my first child. She changed overnight while I stayed the same. I was very depressed and clueless for many months and withdrew. I finally took (and continue to take) steps to better myself in my new role as a father. I tried counselling, medication and education. Some things worked, others did not, but I was continuing to make progress. Now, a year later whenever my wife and I get into a disagreement, She keeps dragging out the past like I have made no progress at all. Because she developed a strong bond with our daughter right away, she expected me to as well and I think she still resents me for it. It's like I'm fighting a losing battle. I just want to hear from someone if my hope for this relationship is not futile.
She changed overnight while I stayed the same. I was very depressed and clueless for many months and withdrew.
You stayed the same? but you said you got depressed. is that the norm for you?
there are two sides to making progress: you feeling better and her feeling better. You have a lot of control over making you feel better, and its a great place to start. but there is the residual effects that your behavior had on her. You might not like it but what you did continues to haunt you. it may be the past for you in some respects but she's a living embodiment of your actions. she's still dealing with the results of your actions and so it is still the present for her and therefore for you also. she needs something from you and she cant move on until she gets it. Its wonderful that you are healing you, but you still have to answer for your past because its currently your present and will be in your future until you learn how to sincerely apologize. In these situations the fact that you feel better is only a small portion of answering for your actions.
of course its more complicated then that since there's a lot about her healing process that you cant control. some of the damage you did might also be because of her perspective and her own mental health issues. the take home point, however, is that there is a portion of this you need to answer for. This is what you created and you dont really get a say when its completely over because you involved another human. you have to respect her healing time and let her feel how she does and not tell her to just 'let it go'. that's impossible and counter productive.
Thank you for your prompt reply. Please excuse my summation; I wanted to avoid a lengthy post.
To clarify, I became depressed after things started going poorly. It was my inaction not actions that caused problems (I am not abusive, I simply withdrew). After seeing a therapist and doing much research, I learned that I suffered from PPND (Paternal Post-Natal Depression) a very common, yet less-known affliction- it is similar to Post-partum depression in women. I have worked very hard to transcend- not just for me, but for the good of my family. I understand she needs time, but it has been a year, and the relationship continues to suffer because of it. I feel that she uses it as a weapon when we disagree to make me feel guilty. That is definitely counter-productive. I cannot change the past, I can only try to make things better. I don't know what else I can do.
I cannot change the past, I can only try to make things better.
you cannot change the physical actions of the past, aka your withdrawal, but you can change the meaning of what happened, and what it means to your marriage. Right now the meaning is negative and so it continues to pervade your present with negativity. If you take some steps to rectify the feelings she has, instead of ignoring them, you can literally change the past by changing what it means to your marriage. the steps you take today, ignoring it or facing it, will determine what the past means for your future. If you ignore her and tell her to get over it then this will be a weak spot in your foundation because the negativity will be the reality. in that respect the past will not change.
Think about it this way. If you had never acknowledged your own depression and just saw it as a thing to move past, could you have ever moved past your depression? You had to do something to get past it. you had to work hard to find solutions that worked so you could literally change the feelings. What if you thought a solution should work for you even if it was not working? You said you tried many things and some things worked and some things didnt work. what if you had allowed yourself to get stuck on one of the things that didnt work simply because you thought it should? you would have never healed. You recognized you had to try something new. This is the work you have done to heal yourself but you have neglected to do the same work in your marriage. Your relationship is an entity all its own, one that also needs to be healed. You think she should move on because its in the past and there's nothing you can do about it. How is your attitude helping to heal this relationship? Is it working? You must apply the same principles to healing the relationship that you applied to your own healing.
You must apply the same principles to healing the relationship that you applied to your own healing.
Interesting point, Blanca.
True, there has been other damage done along the way. But the catalyst remains the same.
Seeing as how the problem began with my emotional distance from my child, it seemed logical that is where it would end once fixed.
A good deal of MY healing process involved healing of OUR relationship. I'm not sure they are that separate.
And I HAVE tried to repair our relationship (my wife and I) Re: romance
So far nothing has worked.... I attribute that to the fact that we are still hung up on the root problem.. At least she is.
I certainly don't blame my wife for her negative feelings towards me, some of which will never go away. I have also resolved myself to the fact that my guilt will probably never go away completely as well.
In my eyes, the BLAME must stop at some point. She needs to come to terms with this first before other aspects of the relationship can progress further. I just hope she comes around- soon. I don't know how much longer I can take it.
It has been argued that mistakes are what drive us to improve upon ourselves. If none were forgiven, nobody would be together.
Finally some progress. I had a discussion with my wife the other night, and for the first time in a long while, I felt like we were both on track. I felt like I had my wife back. We have a plan and we both are taking steps to further our goal. It feels good that she still cares enough to put forth an effort and that my efforts are not futile.
I still fear that it won't last though. In the past, I thought we were making headway, and things would be fine for a while and then something would happen that would set us back to the same miserable place. I am going to try like hell to avoid that happening again- we'll see.
This site has helped so much- I thank you all for your insight and your willingness to share!
I had a similar situation with my husband. He didn't have PPPD but I was always bringing up the past, like when:
1. i was an hour behind him driving and he decided not to come and pick me up though although my car broke down on the side of a freeway (in the mountains with no cell reception) and i had to flag with my two kids to the next town, crying and sad, he told me he to get a flight home, call my mother who had to take a day off work to come to my rescue the next day, take me to the airport and fly me home instead. we ate mcdonalds and dairy queen, had no socks or stroller for the kids. crappy hotel.
2. when we were on our honey moon (we decided not to have sex till married), he wouldn't even look at me because i was probably fertile and didn't want to conceive, then when we straightened out our NFP records, realized about 3 weeks after getting married, we would have sex, he came home, ignored me and went to his computer to work. which brings me to number 3.
3. works to frigin much. had a dream the other night that sums up how i feel about his affair with work: me him and a woman were standing together. he talks to her (as an employee of his company) to go to a conference in new york. she says no, she can't because she has two other commitments... being she has a dance lesson that weekend and tickets to her favorite theater production. he says... I know! I bought you a private dance lesson for the both of us, tickets to the real (bigger) theater production in new york, and a private fine dining experience. Wish he would think of me romantically, when we were dating was I fooled?
4. when he would go away on work trips to the mountains and leave me at home with the kids.
5. only having one car when i had two kids at the time. he had the car on his own schedule and i had it during the less desirable times of the day.
Finally, I just started bossing him around until he just frigin conformed. We have a really good marriage, but these things are examples of memories and hurts we gain along the way. i still bring these up but they are really deep hurts. i know he was getting annoyed because he said he has apologized over and over for these things. i think the husband needs to continually apologize. i know many people will hate me saying this, but when he does something that is in the same vain of those events, i feel hurt. I don't lash out, i just ask "what were you thinking", but that's still enough to make him mad. i am always searching for him to show me i can trust him. i am not the type of person who can jsut forgive and then trust. i have to see him making good decisions for a while.
i am always redefining to my husband what i need, what a marriage needs, what our kids need, and whatever else. and right now, i have defined that instead of just 'talking' every night as a stipulation, that he ask me a few questions in specific:
1. do you feel close to me?
2. what can i do to make you have a great day?
3. ask questions related to the answers you get from the previous two questions.
number one, i think this is a great way to bring up life stuff in a non stressed sort of way. this way, you can ask when you are happy, sad, bitter, stressed, any time. it's a great question.
last night i answered: well, i am smiling at your jokes and i feel like you are being genuine, but i don't feel really close to you, i feel pretty good though, especially since you asked me that question! Thanks honey. (followed by kisses and hugs) this answer was good for him because though he saw me smiling and laughing, he could hear that it wasn't necessarily all that was going on with me.
another thing i have come across since going through birth with four kids is: sex is very difficult to maintain in the first year of the baby being born. i remember my husband getting really serious with me about him not having sex. he was so desperate even though i was having sex on average 2-4 weeks. my body had changed, the baby had so many needs, sleep was unpredictable, the whole house hold was high stress for me, double the amount of laundry each time a new child came, trying to get people fed and me showered was sooooo hard, i felt like i was on the verge of crying for 8 years. then, my husband would tell me he's sexually frustrated! oooooooh.
i love pleasing my husband, and now we have sex 2-4 times a week and our last baby is 18 months old. some weeks when i am having my period, we don't do it at all, but he knows it will pick up in a few days. but back then... it was so hard to explain how split my brain was. i wanted to be a goddess, have my husband understand: i am woman with baby, provide me with good nourishing food, provide me with a safe home, provide me with warm clothes for my baby, the best milk, the best cushiest bed, a serviced bath time, a foot massage at any moment and just to beam at the miracle of life I am working so hard to take care of. Ha ha! I don't know if other women feel like this, but I think we all have to search our real expectations, what are we really thinking? In my mind when my husband came to me for his needs, all i could think was: (in light of how i think a woman with a baby should be treated) i haven't showered in three days and I am desperate in many ways myself. and besides, remember when you pissed me off 5 years ago?
well, anyway, persevere with your wife. she is having a hard time too. is there anything wrong with viewing her as a hurt soul and proving your love? i know you don't want to have a future of her bringing things up constantly, but i doubt she does either. she's trying to figure out how to deal with these things like I am still.
from my experience, time and perceverence has really moved our relationship forward. when my hubby stopped being so defensive and would just admit those things were stupid and he would take them back in instant. as soon as i hear him getting defensive, i know i have to bring it up another different day, hoping he will understand my hurt and just apologize and admit it was stupid.
on a great day, he will say: i know that sucked for you and i was a young, complete dumbass who won't ever do that again. i feel so much better and i can ignore it for another 6 months. the more he affirms me, the more i forget about the issue and i feel healed.
i don't know how else to get through these hurts, and frankly it works for me. perhaps other men or women think i am being too hard on him, but if it works and seems to cover the basics of relationships: love and trust, than why not?
By the way: you seem like a very introspective dude. My husband is not and it has taken a lot of serious discussion to get him to clue into life even. he is very successful and thinks everything in his life is going well if he doesn't have to drive in rush hour. i aksed him: do you feel close to me (after he asked me), and he says: i haven't thought of that before. I am sure if i asked him: do you feel sexually fulfilled he would answer. there is so much more to feeling close to someone than just sex. so, you are lucky you are so introspective, cause, he doesn't have a clue sometimes. i have felt i could've walked out five years ago and he wouldn't see it coming! "What! everything was fine!" i suppose we all live with our opposites. but i assure you, you will make it better, keep talking and she will open up to you. i will feel like i will have a great break through and then the next thing i know something crappy happens between us. it's usually because someone is defensive and feels stretched and misunderstood.
I try to place myself in my wife's shoes as much as possible, especially when I am confounded by her actions. Unfortunately, lately, I have no damn clue what's going on inside her head. Many times, even when prompted, she won't tell me.
In my last post, I feared that all these obstacles would come back and they have ALREADY! Been trying to talk to her for 3 days now....I know something is bothering her... She keeps saying she's stressed and exhausted. Rather vague, but I'll bet it has SOMETHING to do with me.
This last week has been hell. Starting with the SNOWSTORM. Got up @5:30 Wed with no power in the house (No heat). I went from cracking my eyelids open to rushing outside and digging firewood out of 6 ft snowdrifts! After I got my family in the living room where there was now some semblance of heat, My next goal was to get them somewhere where there was heat--Who knew when the power would come back on. Started the snowthrower and began to cut through 6 ft drifts @ the garage. 5 min in, the damn thing broke IN HALF! No lights, no power, no parts. Grabbed shovel and started digging. Power came back on after a couple hrs-yay- but continued to dig - after helping neighbors and mother (12+hours) the day was done, and so was my back. Sat- 11 hr. work day- ouch my back. Sun snowed some more--shovelled. Ordering parts for snowthrower and writing stern letter to sears about their piss-poor product, computer virus strikes- 3+ hrs to fix. Mon wife informed me her car was running poorly and oil light was on. Worked 10.5 hour day AND stayed late to fix her car. When I came home, back was SCREAMING, The damn plow pushed 2 ft of snow in front of my garage and I had to shovel it AGAIN just to get in! Needless to say my mood was not great when I got in the house. Nothing big happened- she asked what was wrong and I unleashed a heap of explitives about my day/week.--- oops!
I can only surmise she is po'd about my outburst, but I don't know why...None of it was directed at her- I was just venting about snowblower and plow- I feel I had good reason to. After that I spent my days cleaning up the rest of the mess and working.. I probably was a little more irratable than usual for the next couple days, but I tried VERY hard to keep it under wraps until I completely centered myself (and healed). I didn't even flinch today when the furnace stopped working.
I certainly hope you did apologize to her. I know you were just venting but unfortunately she thinks it's directed at her.
Angry outbursts can creep up without warning and kill a relationship. It's up to you to recognize them and divert your anger into something else. My wife and I came to an agreement that when she caught me going off like q crazy man that she would drop a codeword. In my case it's Psycho Steve. This is reference to a friends of hers husband. Total Psycho. This usually diverts my attention enough that I can take a breath, apologize and if I'm still steaming I take the dog out for a walk to finish working the crap outta my system. Posted via Mobile Device
Outbursts for me are uncommon, especially lately- I've been focusing on it. I feel everyone has their breaking point though, and it took quite a bit to get me to that point. Everyone needs to vent anger once in a while- I just make sure that it is not aimed AT anyone directly when I am about to lose it. I thought that I once had anger management issues, but my T says otherwise. I don't break things or hurt people or name-call, but there is always room for improvement. I was just hoping she would cut me a little slack given the circumstances. If the roles were reversed, I would!
Was the change in your relationship with your wife waiting for a "justification", ie., your emotional distance from your new baby and change in mood? Is there a deeper relational issue that goes beyond these changes? Women can have deep seated reasons that need deep therapy and caring to help her through it.
However, I do see that the emotional changes you underwent and the consequences it had on your wife's emotional state still require your love and care to help her heal. Perhaps she can help you better understand the kind of help you can give her.
bingo it sounds like you are trying to do your best, so take a little pride in that and know you are doing everything you can.
In my marriage too things went off track as soon as our son was born, she was putting unrealistic expectations on me, she was screaming out for help and even though I was also busting my butt I didn't/couldn't do what she needed, eventually I just felt like I was failing all the time and letting her down, and though I moved us back to her hometown where her father lives, he was widower, remarried and adopted children so we still had no support raising the child, no grandma to come over a couple times a week with motherly advice, we were on our own.
The stress broke me, I resigned from a great job working at home because I just couldn't cut it, went through another great job but didn't get along with the owner so was glad to get out of it, eventually landed a stable decent job. Somewhere along that path I surrendered the lead in the marriage and she was bitter and resentful about being a matriarch (because she had no footsteps to follow). So it just kind of fizzled I guess, I was in it for long haul was not thinking about things much waiting it out, she decided she needed to move on, and used me for whatever gain she could get before heading on.
I would say take charge of your own life, appreciate the hard work you are doing and don't let her undermine your accomplishments because life is hard and you are doing what you need to do to make it happen. If you can accept that then I think you wouldn't feel the need for emotional outbursts. Doing the heavy lifting is hard, but if you are a man you do it and don't complain, if it is too much than you accept it and get help. This is what I'm trying to get back in my life.