I left and I'm so sad - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-01-2016, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
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I left and I'm so sad

I left my husband last week - something I've been thinking about for several years. I didn't leave because I'm ready to divorce, but I felt like I would have a nervous breakdown if I didn't go - so I left mainly to preserve my sanity.

A little background - married over 30 years, wonderful adult children. H doesn't cheat, doesn't "overtly" abuse me, however I really believe he has some kind of passive aggressive issues and I don't know why. To be fair, he's a good provider, he helps around the house... he stopped telling me he loves me. I am hurt, so I don't say it to him (but not because I don't), although after I told him I was leaving he made some comment about how "it would be up to me to tell the kids that I don't love their dad anymore"... I almost felt like this was transference. The passive aggressive stuff is:

- never apologizes
- argues and turns things back on me
- doesn't praise or offer thanks
- makes jokes at my expense when our kids are around but not at other times.
- tunes me out and has a TV addiction (IMO)
- Lately, rarely will make eye contact with me. Looks right past me when looking at me, or I am talking with his profile.
- Never initiates resolution
- Withholds affection
- Waits for me to initiate intimacy (doesn't reject me, but doesn't initiate) I'm tired of initiating so as a result, we haven't been intimate the last 4 months and I'm sure he's mad at me about that.

I feel like I do all the emotional heavy-lifting in this relationship. He won't talk to me to tell me what he's thinking - it's almost like he knows it drives me crazy so he does it to push my buttons.

I told him I wanted a temporary separation and I only wanted to talk once a week which he agreed to. Now here's the hard part... we were living overseas. I packed my bags and came back home. So I know the odds are really stacked against me to hope for some kind of reconciliation. He made it clear he has no intention of returning home soon. Tomorrow we are supposed to talk and I have no idea where to start on what to say to him.

I need time to heal my hurts at his indifference. I have no intention of dating. We have tried counseling a couple of times, he was willing to go, but again, I felt like I initiated everything including the homework. I am going to find myself a counselor in the next week and work on ME. In a perfect world, he would miss me and realize what he did or didn't do was making it impossible for me to live with him, and he would want to change. Am I dreaming?

He was a really wonderful guy once upon a time.

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-01-2016, 10:47 PM
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Re: I left and I'm so sad

All you can do is tell him how you feel and what you want/need. It doesn't sound like you're asking for the world here.

I would ask him the same.

Good luck. I hope it works out for you.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-01-2016, 11:00 PM
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Re: I left and I'm so sad

Did you ask him to go to counseling or read any books that could help you two to communicate better with each other?
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-01-2016, 11:24 PM
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Re: I left and I'm so sad

You need to find out whether he is "in" this anymore. If he doesn't care, then he won't put any effort into changing. He needs to be invested in your marriage for anything to get better. So I would ask him and find out where he stands.

If he wants to work on things, you need to tell him what you need from your marriage that your not getting, and what you are getting from your marriage that you would rather not get (insults, etc). And give him the opportunity to tell you what he needs as well.

You both reading the books "His Needs, Her Needs" and "Love & Respect" would possibly benefit you too.

As a mother, I eat stress for breakfast. - Megan Conley

I don't trust words. I even question actions. But I hardly ever doubt patterns.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-01-2016, 11:29 PM
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Re: I left and I'm so sad

I agree with the above book suggestion and will add one more:

"Love Busters"

Both of you need to read the books and do what they say to do.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-01-2016, 11:42 PM
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Re: I left and I'm so sad

He does "overtly" abuse you. Everything you have written is emotional abuse. Good for you for leaving. Nobody should put up with that. Stay strong and while it is difficult, just remember that part within you that almost had a nervous breakdown over his treatment. That was your gut telling you that this is no longer working, you are being taken advantage of, ignored, abused and hurting. Working on you is the best gift you can give yourself for 2016. I suspect this behavior didn't crop up overnight, so you need to figure out in therapy why this level of disrespect was okay with you for all those years.

Kuddos to you for having the courage to say enough is enough. Onwards and upwards.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-02-2016, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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Re: I left and I'm so sad

Marc878: Thank you

Lilac: Yes, counseling twice, and we tried to go through the Gottman book but only when I initiate.

BioFury: Im going to check out those books, thanks.

EleGirl: I will add that one to the list.

BrightEyes: Ill be calling Monday morning for a therapy appointment!

Thank you all for your comments I have a lot to learn.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 07:20 PM
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Re: I left and I'm so sad

This might sound strange but you are totally describing my father. He has since died but I can see his wife (my step-mother, once upon a time) having written this. He was devastated when she left him. He was never able to really show people that he loved them (even though he really did). In the beginning, he was wonderful in a relationship but then he would retreat inward and he was probably emotionally abusive.

I don't have a ton of advice other than to say that it's possible that he truly does love you. You absolutely do not have to stay in a relationship that doesn't make you happy. I would be very, very direct (but not in a mean/angry way) and ask him what he wants. Does he want to work hard to keep you? I would tell him exactly what that will entail. I wouldn't expect the eye contact to happen for a while but bring up how insulting that is. He sounds like he's just emotionally injured ... whether from you or childhood ... who knows? I would lay it all out on the line and tell him that it is up to him. If he wants to earn you back, great.

In my dad's marriage, he let her go. It totally and completely crushed him but he just didn't know how to deal with his emotions. Still, at the end of the day, you have to worry about yourself. I would just work on not letting things get ugly between the two of you. But you deserve way more than you're currently receiving.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-19-2016, 09:43 AM
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Re: I left and I'm so sad

Quote:
Originally Posted by SandboxDweller View Post
I left my husband last week - something I've been thinking about for several years. I didn't leave because I'm ready to divorce, but I felt like I would have a nervous breakdown if I didn't go - so I left mainly to preserve my sanity.

A little background - married over 30 years, wonderful adult children. H doesn't cheat, doesn't "overtly" abuse me, however I really believe he has some kind of passive aggressive issues and I don't know why. To be fair, he's a good provider, he helps around the house... he stopped telling me he loves me. I am hurt, so I don't say it to him (but not because I don't), although after I told him I was leaving he made some comment about how "it would be up to me to tell the kids that I don't love their dad anymore"... I almost felt like this was transference. The passive aggressive stuff is:

- never apologizes
- argues and turns things back on me
- doesn't praise or offer thanks
- makes jokes at my expense when our kids are around but not at other times.
- tunes me out and has a TV addiction (IMO)
- Lately, rarely will make eye contact with me. Looks right past me when looking at me, or I am talking with his profile.
- Never initiates resolution
- Withholds affection
- Waits for me to initiate intimacy (doesn't reject me, but doesn't initiate) I'm tired of initiating so as a result, we haven't been intimate the last 4 months and I'm sure he's mad at me about that.

I feel like I do all the emotional heavy-lifting in this relationship. He won't talk to me to tell me what he's thinking - it's almost like he knows it drives me crazy so he does it to push my buttons.

I told him I wanted a temporary separation and I only wanted to talk once a week which he agreed to. Now here's the hard part... we were living overseas. I packed my bags and came back home. So I know the odds are really stacked against me to hope for some kind of reconciliation. He made it clear he has no intention of returning home soon. Tomorrow we are supposed to talk and I have no idea where to start on what to say to him.

I need time to heal my hurts at his indifference. I have no intention of dating. We have tried counseling a couple of times, he was willing to go, but again, I felt like I initiated everything including the homework. I am going to find myself a counselor in the next week and work on ME. In a perfect world, he would miss me and realize what he did or didn't do was making it impossible for me to live with him, and he would want to change. Am I dreaming?

He was a really wonderful guy once upon a time.
Dealing with a passive-aggressive person is VERY stressful. Being in a close relationship with a passive-aggressive person takes its toll on us, especially if we are the type to openly show and expect some level of warmth!

I think you are doing the right thing by going to counselling and talking through your experiences. Personally, I would find it very hard to live with a spouse who was indifferent or cold. My ex-husband was not indifferent, he was a very warm and sociable person, but his family (my in laws) were the most passive-aggressive people I have ever met. EVER. I lived with them in the same small home for 3 years and I felt the life being sucked out of me...it was exactly like you described it, I thought I would go insane if I didn't leave them. They were indifferent at the best of times, and negative/emotionally abusive at the worst times. I'm glad they are out of my life. I'm saddened it came at the cost of my marriage but in life, every gain comes with some cost.

Stay strong.

"The pain of all your experience is what makes you the person you are now. And without your experience, you are an empty page, a blank notebook, a missing lyric. What makes you brave is your willingness to live through your life experiences and hold your head up high the next day. So don't live life in fear. Because you are stronger now, after everything that has happened, than you ever were back before it started."
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-19-2016, 02:53 PM
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Re: I left and I'm so sad

[QUOTE=SandboxDweller;14538937]I left my husband last week - something I've been thinking about for several years. I didn't leave because I'm ready to divorce, but I felt like I would have a nervous breakdown if I didn't go - so I left mainly to preserve my sanity.



He was a really wonderful guy once upon a time.[/QUOTE]

Please excuse the freedom I took with the edits but I wonder if there is another possibility other than simply your husband having grown cold because of lack of love. Could there possibly be an undiagnosed mental illness or condition that is present? Any other odd changes in his behavior not involving you that you could put your finger on? Have his other social relationships deteriorated as well? Has his career suffered a decline or a unexplained blow? How is his memory?
People change of course. But sometimes not always of heir own free will. No one is blaming you for leaving, you deserve to be happy. But before throwing in the towel I wonder if you or he have considered whether or not there is another explanation for the change, one that is somewhat outside the realm of the ordinary?
Just something to think about before you make your final decision.

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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Re: I left and I'm so sad

"Please excuse the freedom I took with the edits but I wonder if there is another possibility other than simply your husband having grown cold because of lack of love. Could there possibly be an undiagnosed mental illness or condition that is present? Any other odd changes in his behavior not involving you that you could put your finger on? Have his other social relationships deteriorated as well? Has his career suffered a decline or a unexplained blow? How is his memory?"

Honestly he has been laid off from the last 7 jobs. Yes, 7. He is a really hard worker. Not fired, laid off. I have never criticised him about that because I knew it was a huge blow to his ego. But I have always wondered "Was he being stubborn about being right? Does he refuse to schmooze? Was he being defensive about something if criticized?" He has often said, "So and so didn't like me" - he kind of plays the victim. Right now he LOVES his job. He gets along well with everybody and he is super happy for the first time in a long time. I believe he has suffered from depression (undiagnosed)in the past and that watching TV incessantly was his way of escapism. I sometimes wonder if the resentment of being laid off and an inability to lash out at those who laid him off has built and built and somehow I'm on the receiving end of it. But then I think, "He's finally happy at work, so what else is going on?"

I don't know. He'll barely talk to me. Right now he is all surface, he reveals nothing.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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Re: I left and I'm so sad

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Originally Posted by BirdieToldMe View Post

In my dad's marriage, he let her go. It totally and completely crushed him but he just didn't know how to deal with his emotions. Still, at the end of the day, you have to worry about yourself. I would just work on not letting things get ugly between the two of you. But you deserve way more than you're currently receiving.
Oh that is really sad. I'm not confident he has any fight in him. The way he is now, it seems like it is easier for him to ignore the problems. I am seeing a counselor now and working on myself. I feel bad for him, because if he is starting to hate me (which is what it feels like) that has got to hurt and is so unnecessary.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-21-2016, 02:31 AM
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Re: I left and I'm so sad

SandboxDweller, how are things going with you. I'm interested to know what has happened since with your therapy and your marriage. I can identify with some of what you are saying.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-21-2016, 08:27 AM
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Re: I left and I'm so sad

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Originally Posted by SandboxDweller View Post
I left my husband last week - something I've been thinking about for several years. I didn't leave because I'm ready to divorce, but I felt like I would have a nervous breakdown if I didn't go - so I left mainly to preserve my sanity.

A little background - married over 30 years, wonderful adult children. H doesn't cheat, doesn't "overtly" abuse me, however I really believe he has some kind of passive aggressive issues and I don't know why. To be fair, he's a good provider, he helps around the house... he stopped telling me he loves me. I am hurt, so I don't say it to him (but not because I don't)
Like it or not, that just gives your confirmation to his behavior.

Quote:

, although after I told him I was leaving he made some comment about how "it would be up to me to tell the kids that I don't love their dad anymore"... I almost felt like this was transference.


He is trying to impose a heavy cost on you for leaving. This is very common. Also, he wants you to argue with him. He is saying something that is untrue, in hopes that you say that you do love him. Then he can ask you the reason you are leaving if you love him. Don't play that game.



Quote:
The passive aggressive stuff is:

- never apologizes
Many don't apologize, because their partner will make a high punishment for the bad deed or act. I am not saying you are doing this, but many that are apologized to will hold the relationship hostage, and refuse to accept it. Alternatively, they will harp on the apologizing individual further. What we don't understand is that this trains individuals away from apologizing. I'd ask you if you do anything remotely along these lines.

If not, (or not much) it means that he doesn't want to admit he was wrong, just because that imposes bad feelings on him. Yes, that is a lousy reason to not apologize.
Quote:
- argues and turns things back on me
The majority of people do this. This is the hidden danger of believing in the argument model. I teach individuals to communicate without arguing. Most psychs believe in some form of the argument model.

He is extremely proud. As such, you have to handle him in a very specific way. If you yell at him or reason with him, he will beat you down. How many years have you tried to get him to just listen to you, to no avail? There are two options, walk away or realize that you will have to employ your personal strength.

Quote:
- doesn't praise or offer thanks
- makes jokes at my expense when our kids are around but not at other times.
- tunes me out and has a TV addiction (IMO)
This, like social media, is dangerous for all relationships. What we are saying is that the media device is more important. We say that the relationship can come later; later never comes.
Quote:
- Lately, rarely will make eye contact with me. Looks right past me when looking at me, or I am talking with his profile.
He doesn't want to get into it, so severe disconnection is the result.
Quote:
- Never initiates resolution
He won't admit anything other than "I'm right, you're wrong." He can't initiate resolution, as it conflicts with his pride. Proud individuals are difficult to be in relationships with.
Quote:
- Withholds affection
I did mention severe disconnection.
Quote:
- Waits for me to initiate intimacy (doesn't reject me, but doesn't initiate) I'm tired of initiating so as a result, we haven't been intimate the last 4 months and I'm sure he's mad at me about that.
He was holding the relationship hostage. Either you give him love, or he won't give any. The problem is that you reciprocated. Again, that confirms his behavior.

Quote:
I feel like I do all the emotional heavy-lifting in this relationship. He won't talk to me to tell me what he's thinking - it's almost like he knows it drives me crazy so he does it to push my buttons.
He is proud. If he works to feed his pride, then hurting you will trigger an endorphin release. It is a horrible game that is played in relationships.


Quote:

I told him I wanted a temporary separation and I only wanted to talk once a week which he agreed to. Now here's the hard part... we were living overseas. I packed my bags and came back home. So I know the odds are really stacked against me to hope for some kind of reconciliation. He made it clear he has no intention of returning home soon. Tomorrow we are supposed to talk and I have no idea where to start on what to say to him.
At some point, he has to come to the table. This isn't what we call a relationship. You can work hard to master yourself, and then you can master him. Still, he could choose to not involve himself.

Dealing with these type of people is my expertise. It is tricky though. If I was in a relationship with this type of person, they could become very enraged, when their emotional manipulation is not reciprocated or taken. Sometimes, this means that they end up walking away, hoping to find someone they can manipulate. Alternatively, they put their tail between their legs and realize the immense power of someone that does not take their emotional garbage.

Quote:
I need time to heal my hurts at his indifference. I have no intention of dating. We have tried counseling a couple of times, he was willing to go, but again, I felt like I initiated everything including the homework.
The homework is for each individual. Without effort, there is no ability to change. The skills I have mastered have taken years to build and perfect. This means that I had to be screamed at, threatened and manipulated in every way, but react in a prescribed fashion for the skill to overcome the amygdala's hijacking of the neo-cortex. We can't just sit in front of a counselor, agree, nod our heads and then head home, waiting for the next visit. We have to literally change the way our brains operate. As long as he gets upset and annoyed, he is going to act this way. He has done nothing and is doing nothing to change the way he thinks, feels and acts.

Quote:


I am going to find myself a counselor in the next week and work on ME. In a perfect world, he would miss me and realize what he did or didn't do was making it impossible for me to live with him, and he would want to change. Am I dreaming?

He was a really wonderful guy once upon a time.
You can't do the work for him. You can't change him. He has to find his own catalyst. Master yourself. I advise you to become so powerful, that his games no longer impact you.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-21-2016, 02:42 PM
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Re: I left and I'm so sad

I agree with just about everything Relationship Teacher has stated...

Please do not mistake what I am about to say as an excuse for what he is doing. You are right not to accept it anymore. Its very unhealthy for any kind of intimate relationship.

Your husband sounds like a very wounded individual. And I mean from long before you met him. People who are emotionally wounded from childhood often cannot separate their behavior from their own sense of self. Admitting bad behavior becomes "I am a bad person", which is unacceptable to the self.

We all know this is not reality, but often it is the reality of people who were emotionally wounded as kids and modeled bad behavior or conflict resolution from their own parents. And these people grow up actually thinking this behavior is normal and then they bring into into their own intimate relationships.

It sounds like there are several defense/coping mechanisms at work here. If you can understand that his behavior has very little to do with you, you can stay calm and perhaps help both of you get to the root of the problem.
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