How To Respond... - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 03:18 AM Thread Starter
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How To Respond...

My husband is a very aloof person and while not "committed" to any sense of religion that I know of, is mostly adhered to Buddhism.

Since Buddhism tends to err on the belief that attachments are unnecessary and usually painful or ego-centered, my husband is quite smug about his lack of attachment to me.

In spite of the fact that he won't express any "positive" attachment to me (all those things most of us want to hear - "you're important to me" "I care about your feelings" etc.) he is absurdly able to reflect his attachment to his feelings of "annoyance" of being "harassed" and "pestered", and this is a TYPICAL response to my asking questions about his day at work. He just started a new job and doesn't talk much about it. He even says these things after a single, solitary question that is not a part of a conversation (heaven forbid).

I'm no theological expert, but I feel he uses these beliefs to maintain distance from me.

If I express that I feel I'm receiving more negative feedback than positive, he rolls his eyes and groans loudly, "Its always about you, you, you, isn't it?"

How does one effectively communicate what's important to them without generating this response? We've been married 5 years and it's starting to feel very lonely and isolating to be in the same room with him knowing the next time I open my mouth I'll be accused of "harassing" him or being "overbearing" NO MATTER WHAT I SAY OR WHAT THE TOPIC IS OR HOW I APPROACH IT. This has become his default response to me in nearly every situation...

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 04:13 AM
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Re: How To Respond...

I wouldnt put it down to religion. Sometimes one is not yet comfortable in a new job and doesnt want to talk about it. I think you will have to give him time in his new job.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 05:02 AM
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Re: How To Respond...

Religion is an excuse, he just doesn't want to make the effort. If this is a one off thing let it go but if it is occurring over a period of time, take action. I would tell him that you have a need for emotional connection the way he has a need for sex. If he is not interested in creating that with you, you will not bother him anymore and he should do likewise. In the meantime detach from him emotionally, get busy with other things, go out more often, meet friends, join other activities. Make a life for yourself independent from him. Are you working? The point is you have to let him feel the 'pain' of your detachment, then see what happens. Simply do not be available and reduce the things you do for him.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 05:46 AM
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Re: How To Respond...

I agree with aine, tell him how his non attachment is affecting you. If he has no answer or make an effort, you start detaching. Start finding other things to do, go out and make yourself unavailable.

He wants to live in a marriage and be detached. Maybe, he should just move into a monestary and live there. What a load of crock. My father did this, my mother cheated with a whole bunch of men, got angry and beat the hell out of us. He was detached alright. This idea of being detached in a marriage is stupid and goes against everything that the word marriage stands for.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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I will try my best to detach. It isn't easy because I do love him and it does seem as though he gets worse when I pull away. I used to be almost incapable of controlling my emotions years ago, but I have come a long way in learning better communication techniques.

I do work - I'm self-employed and I often work 7 days a week for weeks on end. Oftentimes I'll only get the chance to come home for 15-20 minutes for the entire day, and if that is all the time we will have together he will spend it meditating or in a book.

Sex? Haha, what's that? For a man he is quite content having sex once a month and more than ready to tell me I'm "oversexed" if I try to talk to him about it. Of course, he pleases himself whenever he wants and I'm to be okay with that while going through the droughts.

I guess these are all surface issues and the deeper issue is I don't know what the deeper issue is. He has always been painfully critical of nearly everything and everyone... I have been in a lot of different relationships, but never one where I felt I could really do no right. The first few years I was highly reactive and sensitive to his criticisms, but less so now that I can truly see it isn't personal.

I think those first few years of my reactivity shut him down; maybe for good. He seems to bring up the past a lot when I'm trying to discuss a current issue with him. It feels like a never-ending loop trying to stay on the subject when the subject is constantly changing. I catch it now and let him know I won't take the bait (to engage in changing the subject) and he will move on to his next tactic to end the discussion.

So, I have learned to detach quite a bit but the hard part is accepting that he has an almost sociopathic ability to forget I exist when we're not together. (Or even when we are). I'm at a loss as to how to engage him in even friendly conversation at times... It's like walking on eggshells trying to figure out the best way to say things.

Sorry for all the random info... I feel like even putting my finger on the exact problem is like trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack...
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 02:00 PM
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Re: How To Respond...

His attitude is actually not very Buddhist - but it is a perversion of a concept that is difficult to understand. He's attached to detachment, and using a false premise to distance himself and not live in the moment. His negativity is certainly not an expression of loving-kindness.

Are there any Buddhist centers or teachers near you with whom you can discuss this topic? He may need some help figuring out what detachment really means and how it actually applies to relationships.

Perhaps this article will give some perspective:

Love is an ideal thing; marriage is a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Last edited by Married but Happy; 09-16-2015 at 02:11 PM.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 02:07 PM
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Re: How To Respond...

Sounds like he's trying to get you to file for divorce.

So oblige him.

Virginia: "Why can't you kids leave well enough alone? Everything was fine until you started digging around."

Burt: "You sound like a Scooby Doo villain."
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 03:02 PM
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Re: How To Respond...

Sounds like more of a budass than a Buddhist.

Might want to consider giving your love to a man that loves you back.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 03:26 PM
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Re: How To Respond...

Originally Posted by ConanHub View Post
Sounds like more of a budass than a Buddhist.

Might want to consider giving your love to a man that loves you back.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-17-2015, 01:00 PM
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Re: How To Respond...

Hm. I hesitate to bring this out but it sounds very similar to my ex who was diagnosed NPD. Let's see... your H has no empathy, can't be bothered with things he thinks aren't important, thinks his ideals are more special than yours, and while not listed in the top symptoms, bringing up the past all of the time is another tactic they use to deflect from the current discussion. So I'm not a professional, I just recognized a lot of my ex in your description, though my ex was 10x worse, including the violent part.

In order for a person to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) they must meet five or more of the following symptoms:

Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
Requires excessive admiration
Has a very strong sense of entitlement, e.g., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
Is exploitative of others, e.g., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
Lacks empathy, e.g., is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

Are highly reactive to criticism.
Have low self-esteem.
Can be inordinately self-righteous and defensive.
React to contrary viewpoints with anger or rage.
Project onto others qualities, traits, and behaviors they can’t—or won’t—accept in themselves.
Have poor interpersonal boundaries.

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-17-2015, 01:07 PM
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Re: How To Respond...

I honestly don't understand why you are even married, and why you stay married. Your H doesn't seem to want to be married, and I don't see why you want to be married to him.

Why are you staying? There is no way to fix a marriage by yourself. It requires two people to repair and build a marriage, and your H is not interested and doesn't think anything needs fixing. He likes it when you are miserable or doesn't care that you are miserable - it makes him happy.

How much of your life do you want to give up to this man? You've already wasted 5 years. How many more do you want to waste?

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-18-2015, 12:40 PM
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Re: How To Respond...

There are zero legitimate religions on planet Earth that require or encourage a man to be a jerk, however jerks often find religion to be a convenient outlet.

Darling it's better down where it's wetter, take it from me! --- Sebastian
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-19-2015, 01:29 AM
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Re: How To Respond...

Has your husband talked to you about faith. I think you need to have that discussion.

If you love him, and he loves you, you would want to know him and be known by him spiritually, mentally, socially, emotionally, and physically.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-19-2015, 01:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all of your replies. Someone mentioned NPD.... I have long suspected NPD and Schizoid PD, but being the trained actor that he is, he escaped diagnosis the one time he went to counseling for a few months... Instead his counselor 'tentatively' diagnosed me as BPD without ever meeting me or realizing that my emotional outbursts were a result of cumulative stone-walking and criticism and not a default mode for me.

Tonight I came home from work, (he had the entire day off). He was immediately displeased to see me. Offered no greetings and seemed irritable. I have him space for a few hours, then attempted to 're-approach' him and was met with an incredibly cold and heartless response... I had asked for affection (hug, kiss, eye contact? Conversation?) And he basically, coldly told me he didn't care for my drama (I was very calm and polite and I asked if I could have some of his time to talk, have quality time).

He said he didn't care about my problems, to go find someone else, and asked me twice "Do you get it? Huh? Do you understand?!" He was very arrogant and condescending...

I left for a friend's house to lick my wounds. It's not the first time he's talked to me like that, and I'm sure it won't be the last....

Other slights he made included telling me I couldn't "cut it" in the "real world" and I needed to get a "real job". (I work for myself and consistently make between $300-$700 a week). I pay bills and expenses equal to our rent, but I'm somehow not doing my part because I don't pay half the rent and I don't work a "real" job.

I'm hurt and losing hope.... :'(

Last edited by EverythingU.RNot; 09-19-2015 at 02:13 AM.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-19-2015, 02:30 AM
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Re: How To Respond...

He hates his new job, it might not be what he expected it would be. Those attacks on you, for not having a real job, yeah, he isn't happy with his new job, so he wants everybody else to feel like what they do for a living isn't good either.
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