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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-17-2015, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
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lost confused and not really sure what to do

I feel desperate to be posting in this forum. My wife of almost 19 years wants to leave me, and has been giving me the cold shoulder for the last week. It all came to a boil a week ago, when I got really mad one evening, smashed a rice cooker, some plates, as she was ignoring and putting me down while she went about her way getting dinner ready. I don't know why I snapped, and in reflection, I shocked myself, in the process of smashing the cooker, and the plates, I cut myself and made a horrible mess. to make it worse, the kids got to see me do this. I've never done this before, and I was horrified enough to immediately look for theraphy. Despite some theraphy sessions, i'm no closer to understanding why i did it. To make it worse, she hasn't been the same since. I can't really say I blame her, I became a monster, and I did a terrible thing, and right now, I can't even rationalize or ask for her forgiveness, she has a permanent scowl on her face in the mornings, and takes every opportunity to ignore, and or put me down. I don't really know what to do, i'm desperate.


Roll to the beginning, my wife and I knew each other since high school, we fell in love and went to the same college. Her parents had lived apart since she was 6 years old, and her family is pretty messed up. While she loves her mom deeply, there are times when she would just go into a cold war with her mom, and not speak to her for weeks. I was always able to thaw her coldness, even if I made stupid mistakes. 16 years ago, we moved away from all family for my work, she left her professional job, and while initially had encouraged me to move, had a little remorse at the end, as she wanted to stay a couple of months to collect her bonus. In hindsigh, I did the selfish thing, unwilling to face the new surroundings alone, I insisted she give up on her last bonus with the company and move.

Perhaps that was my first mistake, cos it's the thing that comes to her mind lately, everytime we fight, she blames me for this, for that, for breaking promises, for not being there.

I work a highly stressful job, with many at work that depend on me. I stuggle as I sometimes feel like I need to be on top of my game OR else I won't make it. I do enjoy the work, but between family and work, there is just no room for any close friends, my wife and I just don't have any. It's been just herself and I for the last 16 years.

I've also grown apart form my parents, who always wants to visit, but whom my wife dislikes, and doesn't want them around. To the point where if they want to come, she insists that I take a vacation to entertain them.

I have 3 lovely kids, twins, and a younger one. I love them dearly, but I also sometimes feel like they took my wife away from me. Since they arrived, kids have been the priority, I have been the lowest. She says that I should be the adult, that I should be there, and not want attention like another kid. I get that, but I want my wife back. It may be because of this, I also find it hard to relate or do day to day fun stuff with them, I find it hard to connect, and is envious when my wife can talk to them about everything under the sun, and I find it so difficult. I feel like i'm now failing as a father, as well as a husband.

i'm rambling now, I don't even know why I joined, and started posting here. perhaps i'm just looking to see if someone would hear me out instead of me driving myself wild and talking to myself all the time.

I was also diagnosed for type 2 diabetes about 6 months ago, giving up my favorite foods and losing a bunch of weight certainly has been disturbing to go through. My wife, while sympathetic, seems to constantly chide me for "see, I told you not to drink too much soda", which I had read as a defensive move by her, as I think she also wonders if she hasn't been feeding me right. Even though I keep telling her its not her fault (I found out my dad has type 2 as well, that he never told me until I told him) it seems to add to the stress on her and at home.

She is also obviously overwhelmed with the kids, laundry, school activities, the mess they make in the home. This takes her away from the stuff she loves to do. Even though I try to support her hobbies, she constantly feels like there is no time to do them - and is in a constant frustrated mode.

So she wants to leave, but she feels she is trapped, as she doesn't feel like she can go back, and she also feels like she threw away the career because of me. She also feels like the kids need her - so her default now is to scowl and ignore me everyday.

I just don't know how to operate in this environment, I dont' know what to do. case in point, I tried to replace the rice cooker, asking her if we should upgrade it since I broke it, she says "it's up to you" so I got a super duper one, and started using it - it's more complicated, and she just told me tonight "i'm so mad at you, when you want to replace something, replace it" - boy was I confused. So I've packed it away, and will be making a trip to get a new one.

gawd, i'm lost and confused and feel like i'm walking on eggshells, I've tried apologizing, I've tried talking to my kids and apologizing, I've tried to communicate and hit a cold shoulder, I've read articles that I should just wait it out, but I've seen her go months like this with her mom, I wouldn't be able to stand it. I still love her dearly, but I don't know what to do.

help.

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-17-2015, 03:05 AM
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Re: lost confused and not really sure what to do

Detach from her and let her go. She needs to work on her issue anyways and loving her does not make you happy and codependent on her.

Find ways of decompressing. It is unhealthy to be constantly stress because you will end up with episodes like the one with the rice cooker and dishes. You blew up like an overized pressure cooker. You need healthy outlets and you do need to make friends for support.

Also, the best thing to do with children is have their parents set an example of what a loving relationship consist of. It sounds like she had a poor example and I am not quite sure of your own parents.

Also, boundaries is another skill you can learn and impart that valuable lesson on your children so they do not neglect themselves for the needs of others. You both neglected what you need to be healthy.

A career is nice and all, but is it fulfilling. Your stress adds into the equation of your home's health as well as your wife's negativity.

You need to be strong enough to either tell her to go to counseling or you will detach and follow through.

Sometimes we have to give up something we love because it is bad for us. Like a diabetic needs to give up cookies for a healthier life. They can love eating cookies, but it is harmful. In this case you are holding on for unhealthy reasons and not getting enjoyment out of marriage and that is quite unhealthy.

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-17-2015, 04:10 AM
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Re: lost confused and not really sure what to do

I do not think that this is the end of your marriage. You are in the place after so long where life has taken over and you have lost each other. What do you actually do for your wife apart from working to be the provider, do you have any time on dates, holidays lone, etc?
How old are your kids?
How old are you and your wife?

She may be hitting that time of perimenopause which can play havoc with a woman's hormones and suddenly nothing is right with the world, the want to rewrite the past, blame H for giving up career, not making the most of education, etc. I would say educated yourself on this too.

Sometimes wives forget that they should put their husband first not the kids, if the couple's relationship is solid the kids will be happy too.
I think you should apolgise to her and tell her you know that things are not good but you want to find a solution, do not tell her anything else, just act.

1. get yourself some continuous therapy/counselling to help you to deal with your own issues/stresses
2. take at least one day a week where you come home early to be with your family, no phone, no laptop, full 100% concentration on them.
3. Try to do something with your wife without the kids once every fortnight
4. Work on yourself, changing yourself to be a better man, eating healthier, going to the gym, being kinder at home.

Remember wives are not attracted to weaknesses, anger or selfishness, but they are attracted to strong men who follow through on what they said they would, prove to her you can.

Now your wife may feel neglected after all the years you have put into work, so she buried herself in the children. If she has issues you may suggest IC for her too then MC together.

I would suggest you read His Needs Her Needs to see what you need from each other. Good luck!

Last edited by aine; 11-17-2015 at 04:12 AM. Reason: add
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-21-2015, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice so far. I'm trying a few things. I'm giving her space but the cold shouldering seems worse at times. I'm reading the book recommendation but there is so much about avoiding affairs that I find it hard to extract the nuggets.

What I'm realising is that I don't seem to be able to be happy without her. Everyday is a cloud. Work has suffered as it takes a lot to put up appearances. My kids can see me being sad, but are at an age where they can't really do anything (twins in their early tweens and a younger who is 10). I'm pretty much moaping around going back to NY routines of buying or cooking dinner and cleaning up after when I get back from work. I'm also trying not to come back too late in the hope that I have a chance to talk.. Nope.. She doesn't want to interact. I've replaced the rice cooker which had drama of its own and is working to replace the plates. I'm doing what I know I can but it's obviously not enough.

I'm not sure what else I can do.. Forcing the issue and forcing a talk never works out. Can't be happy... Sad around the kids all the time. This just feels like a spiral.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-21-2015, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Took the kids out today, had lunch etc. She said she wanted space to go shop. She does most of the Christmas runs for the family so I thought it would be good. She doesn't get back until almost dinner time and sits in the driveway in her car. Not telling anyone. I noticed and went out to offer my help in moving the shopping in. I get ignored. I stand outside in the cold waving.. I get ignored. Sigh, wtf must I do to get to her. Leaving her alone isn't helping. This is utterly miserable.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-21-2015, 08:56 PM
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Re: lost confused and not really sure what to do

It doesn't seem like you have much of a life either. Do you help around the house?

Chores etc?
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
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Re: lost confused and not really sure what to do

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It doesn't seem like you have much of a life either. Do you help around the house?

Chores etc?
i do some of the chores, but not all, wife shoulders the bulk of laundry for the kids (x3 is a lot), i do my own, i help her with the folding. weekday Dinners are usually my responsibility (buy or prepare), we used to plan for them together, now i get a cold shrug. Used to be that we clean the house together during the weekends, but it has slacken off considerably. We are both quite overwhelmed, me with work, her with the kids. i can understand why she is upset and feeling alone, and I want to help, but i keep doing the wrong thing.

How do i start doing the right thing? it seems like the more i try, the more i fail.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 04:53 AM
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Re: lost confused and not really sure what to do

When did this start?

Do you feel it's always been like this. Or is it recent?

You seem passive kinda lad back ????? What's your personality like?

If your wife is overworked at home can you afford help? Maybe a maid service, etc?
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 06:12 AM
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Re: lost confused and not really sure what to do

One week is not really that long. Sure, she should be communicating, but she isn't, so let her have her space.

Today is Sunday. My advice is to spend all day cleaning the house or doing the laundry alone. Don't tell her you're doing it, just start doing it. And don't stop. Your wife is overwhelmed. Being a SAHM can be very tough and isolating. You never get to see your job get "done" and stay "done" because the mess always.comes.back!!! There's very little immediate satisfaction and ZERO appreciation.

And yes, if you can afford a cleaning service get one once or twice a month. That will take a big load off her mind and would be a VERY nice gift for you to give to her. It will show her you love her and care about her stress level.

I'm not understanding what you said/meant about the rice cooker and replacing it, but yeah, maybe you should have just gotten the new rice cooker instead of asking her if she wanted you to. If you use it a lot, and you ruined it, of course she's going to want you to replace it. What did you expect her to say when you asked? Just DO it.

If you truly love someone you want that person to have the freedom to become everything they seek. You want your partner to soar, not to imprison them. - Pluto2
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 06:41 AM
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Re: lost confused and not really sure what to do

OP,
Your wife is a SAHM with three school age children which means she has 6-7 hours a day, five days a week, without children and you do the weekday meals and your own laundry. Personally, I do not see the need for a maid. If she is overwhelmed now then she would be unable to function if she had a full time job in addition to her children. Perhaps she is too easily overwhelmed and lacks the normal coping skills. You, the kids, life, the holidays, maybe it all overwhelms her because her threshold is too low. Perhaps suggest she try counseling.

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 06:46 AM
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Re: lost confused and not really sure what to do

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OP,
Your wife is a SAHM with three school age children which means she has 6-7 hours a day, five days a week, without children and you do the weekday meals and your own laundry. Personally, I do not see the need for a maid. If she is overwhelmed now then she would be unable to function if she had a full time job in addition to her children. Perhaps she is too easily overwhelmed and lacks the normal coping skills. You, the kids, life, the holidays, maybe it all overwhelms her because her threshold is too low. Perhaps suggest she try counseling.
I missed the ages of the kids. I tend to agree. What exactly does she fill her days with?

If you truly love someone you want that person to have the freedom to become everything they seek. You want your partner to soar, not to imprison them. - Pluto2
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 07:30 AM
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Re: lost confused and not really sure what to do

From your post it seems she is in control and you seem to follow which leaves you frustrated.

You should read No More Mr Nice guy. Having no connection with your family because of her suggests this and will build resentment.

Do you or have you in the past arranged for date nights, outings with just you and her?

Is there intimacy between you?
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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Re: lost confused and not really sure what to do

I just spent 2 hours talking to her. sigh, didn't go anywhere. I told her again that I am sorry for blowing up, that I want to change and invest more in the marriage. Whatever I have done in my career is empty without a family, and that is my first priority.

She is unrelenting, she reminded me how I have disappointed her in so many ways. From the day I made her give up her career almost 16 years ago, to the time when I didn't have the guts to tell her how long we would stay in this new city, and for me to pursue my career (apparently I had said 2 years, but reneg after some time when I switched roles in my job), she tells me there is layer upon layer of disappointment and hurt, that i'm never there when she needs me.

I remind her of our happy moments, the vacations, the time alone where we go coffee shop hunting. She bitterly tells me that those happy times were a dime a dozen - i'm a fair weather friend - that when she is most down, like the time when she felt overwhelmed with the twins when they were just born, and I didn't want to take my paternity straight away - to the time when she felt super lonely when our youngest went to first grade, and I didn't even bother to call her during the day to ask her how she was.

sigh, I feel really bad for all these things she has said, thing is, I don't have a time machine. So where do I begin in making up for things that are 10-20 years old? It seems like there is deep set resentment.

I can't even bring up counseling, she is not a believer, and scoffs at it - she is a prideful woman that doesn't believe in involving external people in a private situation.

She repeats she is trapped, she can't leave as she doesn't know what will happen to the kids. I frankly think she also doesn't know where to start - as going home may not work out for her either as she has been away for so long.

i'm committed to do my best here, I just don't know how I can win her back. I feel really really bad about all the things I have not done - the thing is, i'm not a person who remembers a whole lot, I live in the present, but she is a person that dwells on the past, and remembers every slight, every failure, every pain point.

I told her I want to set aside time for her, she tells me she is not interested. I'm going to try as I have no idea what else to do.

OMG, I never imagined myself to be in this position - I admit I fell that I have been complacent with my marriage, thinking it is the thing I can count on while I pursue fleeting success at work. In a weird way I feel trapped as well - the family is so used to a certain lifestyle that if anything changes with my work, it falls apart like a house of cards - I don't think she gets or understands that nor cares, the toys, the mortgage, the everything depends on a steady pay check, depends on me putting up appearences at work, and toughing it out.

I know you guys can't fully understand the situation, there is just so much - talking to my therapist hasn't helped as there is just a lot here - and frankly I don't want to make my wife sound like a monster as well - it's clear she is going though some depression, but its also clear I can't push her into theraphy. Short of getting a psyc degree now, I'm clueless to proceed.

I'm going to take a personal day off tomorrow to see if I can make anymore progress before the holidays so sad for my kids to witness this, so sad that this is happening. I've never been so down in my life,
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 02:36 AM Thread Starter
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Re: lost confused and not really sure what to do

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From your post it seems she is in control and you seem to follow which leaves you frustrated.

You should read No More Mr Nice guy. Having no connection with your family because of her suggests this and will build resentment.

Do you or have you in the past arranged for date nights, outings with just you and her?

Is there intimacy between you?
I may try the book, so far the other book hasn't really helped. As for your questions, in the last 10 years, we've never had a date night, I do occasionally take a half day to grab coffee with her or lunch. But as my last post - those are the "dime a dozen" happy times vs anything real.

Intimacy has been fleeting as well - the most we've gotten it on is on vacation, when we're home, life takes over, and there is zero intimacy. its frustrating, but I don't know how to break out of this cycle.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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Re: lost confused and not really sure what to do

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I missed the ages of the kids. I tend to agree. What exactly does she fill her days with?
she loves to craft, it started as a hobby, and a distraction, then she found a purpose running a blog, and making some money on the side. its not a lot of money, and I've always supported her efforts here. However, it's now always - I don't have time to do this for my blog, I don't have time to entertain my peeps on social media etc. look, I admit on the surface she may have a bunch of hours in the day, but I think there is some truth to the fact that time passes really fast at home - I've done it myself, when i'm at home, hours fly by like minutes, next thing, you have to cook a snack for the kids, and rush to pick them up. I can't judge her for that?

on the other hand, I do think the blog/social media thing is now an excuse to distract, and distance herself.

not sure what to do
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