L.J. asks from Farmington, MN on September 27, 2009
Neither of Us Are Happy
My husband & I have been married almost 14 years, we have 3 children ages 11, 10, and 8. We have always had our ups & downs and I'm not sure if this is just one of our typical "downs", I guess it always feels hopeless when we are going through it. We have had a rough year job-wise, financially, etc. but I think our issues always stem from the same thing. We recently had to move temporarily out of state for a job after he had been out of work for many months. We have done this once before a few years ago, at the time we had been at a low point and the temporary move I felt made us stronger. I guess I was hoping that would happen this time. In the beginning of our relationship my husband was pretty romantic and I really enjoyed it. There hasn't been any romance in years! In fact he has only kissed me ONCE in several years, and that was just this past spring when I helped him get set up in our temporary home- he kissed me when he dropped me off at the airport and I returned home to later join him with the kids after school was out. I had tears coming down my face as I waited in line at airport security so I felt good that maybe our love would grow stronger, but it actually feels awkward when we kiss now. And we never hug or even hold hands. When we do stuff together I will try putting my hand on his leg or do special touchy things, but nothing is ever reciprocated and if he does do something, he actually does it in a poking fun sort of way (I get the feeling he is not entirely comfortable?). Our sex life had been "fine" even though it has only been physically fulfilling and not emotionally fulfilling. It has really declined since the kids & I joined him out here. I know he hates his job out here, but it is really good money. He also hates this area and is really homesick. I have been trying to make it better out here by finding little days trips to take on the weekend to explore the area in an attempt to make him happier. But I just feel so lonely. He works many hours, he works when he gets home too which is fine with me, BUT every single night he watches baseball. Now today, he had to leave 2 hrs early to go to a sports bar/restaurant to go watch our local football team to make sure he got a good table. We kinda had it out a little yesterday and he said it's sad that you have to give up what you like when you get married!! HUH???? Tell me WHICH football game you have missed or which baseball game you have missed? Have you given up your daily beer or glass of wine? I have given up all romance and passion. I've stopped shopping. I am just so lonely in this relationship, although I do know I love him very much. I also feel like he is always trying to "keep me at bay" because I feel like he has some fear that I will become like my mother- who walks all over my dad. I am SO not like her. After many years of frustration with my dad tolerating that treatment, I realized that is just the way their relationship works- so I don't condone her behavior! I am sure he is depressed, I know I feel like I am. And I just don't know how to fix it. I am not a big fan of counceling, it has never helped before when I've seeked help in other relationships. I just have always worried what kind of emotionally void children we might be creating by never showing any affection with eaach other. I hug & kiss them a lot, but they never see us hug & kiss. I just hate feeling like the little free time he does have he would rather be watching a sporting event, that WE are always the sacrifice. This all came to a head yesterday when I said I didn't want to take a cruise for a vacation. The last time we took a cruise with our 2 older kids, he spent a lot of time in the casino and usually had a drink in his hand. It just really bugged me and I hated feeling lonely & angry on vacation. Especially going to bed by myself at night when he was in the casino. That's when his comment about giving up everything was said (and of course it's not the first time he's said that). Neither of us are religious, we are 2 separate religions so church is not an option. Help! Is there hope? I get the feeling he can't stand me right now. And frankly when he was down here and I was home with the kids, I didn't even look forward to his visits. I felt like the kids & I had a groove going and he just threw a wrench in it when he would come home to visit. We are not crazy about the schools out here, so he has been telling me I should just return home with the kids. MAYBE he is really saying this in the best interest of the kids, but it hurts my feelings immensely. Sometimes I feel like throwing in the towel and going home with the kids. I wonder if that would make him realize that we are important to him or if I would become completely detached from him as I felt I was doing in the spring. I apologize if this is all over the place. This is my first time writing my own story on here. I really just want a happy in-tact family. I hope it is possible.
M.M. answers from Omaha on September 28, 2009
You guys need some desperate time together! My husband and I have a day! We get together every thursday 9am-2pm! Our kids go to daycare and we just go be a couple! Have breakfast, go shopping, run errands! It don't matter what you do as long as it together! Take away all distractions, turn off the phones and just enjoy the stuff you did when u dated! We go do fun silly stuff like play putt-putt golf, pack a picnic and go play at a park. This will also show your kids that you two need time to keep the relationship going that you guys are important to each other! My daughter knows that when daddy is home when she wakes up she says "it mommy and daddy day!" Its really important to rekindle that love! Just remember in the end you married your best friend now you just have to find him again! Good luck and I hope this helps!
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R.K. answers from Appleton on September 28, 2009
When men are struggling finacially they often pull away from their family. A man's ego and sexuality is often tied to his ability to provide for his family and since he is now struggling he may be feeling inadequate.
You said you tried counseling and it didn't work, well try again. Counseling can be along process and you have to be able to click with your counselor. The biggest issue is getting each of you to open up. Men often can't open up because they are taught from childhood, be a man, don't show feelings, walk it off you're okay. So when they get married they can't open up all the way because they have never been able to have emotions.
If counseling is not an option try dating again. Talk it out and tell him one night a week it's just you and me babe. No sports, no kids, no work, no housework. Remind him of the great romantic things he did years ago and how much you enjoyed that. Tell him you want to go for a walk and hold hands, or go to a movie and neck and hold hands and snuggle. Go dancing and dance the slow dances real close. I know it's a few months off but you might luck out at a thrift shop-- pick up some kids valentines and leave them where he will find them, addressed to him and signed by you. Yes it's silly but it might help spark the memories of why you two got married in the first place.
Have each of you make a list of what attracted you in the first place to each other, share the list.
I would also recommend that you make the best of the situation you are in. Find a way to meet people and make friends. If you are lonely and looking to him to fulfill your need for friends it may be just too much for him. As women we need girlfriends, most men don't want to go shopping and don't care how cute that pair of shoes is. We need girlfriends for that, also girlfriends listen and help.
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L.P. answers from Des Moines on September 28, 2009
I am very sorry that you are going through this. You said that you are from different religions so church is not an option, but what would happen if you went to church even if you had to go alone? Maybe you could find other people that could fulfill something else in your life. What are you passionate about? Find something that gives you a bit of joy in your life. Let me know if you need to talk!
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S.K. answers from Minneapolis on September 28, 2009
L., I'm not too experienced in this case but I will tell you this, you're kids are old enough to understand something is wrong. It's really hard to sort of hear your story, it's very similiar to my parents'. They got pregnant young had alot of ups and downs through out the years, and yes I knew it. It was never talked about it but I remember every memory as early as 9 years old. It really effects my relationships now. After 23 years of marriage and going through their 'ups and downs' my dad became very depressed. He lost a really good job that he absoluetly loved due to a knee surgery. From there he constantly hopped from job to job still missing a void. He found a job that he semi liked but it consited of him traveling alot. (Not sure if that's what he liked about it??) My mom put a stop to that quick. They got to the point that they didn't talk to each other much, they just went about their day and routines. At this point my brother and I were moved out and going about with our own lives. My dad ended up having to have more knee surgery and his job wouldn't cover it so my mom got a part time job and she became the bread winner for almost 3 months!! During that time my dad slipped into an even deeper depression. My mom eventually never talked nor worked on the marriage much after that and decided to leave him. A year later, they were divorced. A month after the divorce was finalized, my dad committed suicide. What's a little different though, is my mom was the one who gave up. She didn't kiss or hug my dad. He offered to do dates so when she left he couldn't understand what happened. It was very difficult to see both of them go through this. Then you wonder, as kids, did they only stay together for us? My only suggestions, are please keep trying until you get a few years down the road and realize you've tried everything and nothing still hasn't changed. Talk to him, tell him what you feel and if he can't at least start talking to you or try some other counseling, then you'll have to leave. It's not healthy for anyone. But just don't give up so easliy, in the case that he is just battling something in his head. Men don't talk about nor exspress the way us women do. If you don't like the counselor you're working with, try a different one. Don't give up unless you both come to that agreement. Honestly, if you both don't like where you live or anything else about it, is it really worth staying there? Life is too short, make sure you're happy before you make sure you're rich. It's just not worth it. I hope whatever you decide to try, I pray for you and your family that everything will work out how it's intended. If it means seperating, then stand strong and make sure your kids do as well. Maybe even try a family counselor, to see what your kids really do know and understand. Stay strong L.!
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L.O. answers from Minneapolis on September 28, 2009
I can relate to what you are going through. My husband and I have gone through some ups and downs. Seems our romance had gone aside with the kids and my husband would love more time in the bedroom too :) We have been married 14 years as well. Every couple is different but I found Dr Laura's book Proper Care and Feeding of a Husband to be very informative and helpful. You could check that out and see if it is an avenue of help for you. http://www.drlaura.com/main/
Hang in there - I believe all marriages go through tough times and if you can survive them you are stronger in the end.
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D.K. answers from Sioux City on September 28, 2009
I know what it is to be lonely. There were years when my marriage wasn't great. I am not sure you will like my advice, but I will share what worked for me.
I do have a faith and it is not the same faith as my husband. In my faith it is our job to help one another to get to heaven, so I set off on the task of getting us to heaven. I prayed always for him and I went about the task of loving him with all I have to get us both to heaven. It wasn't easy. When He would be rude or mean I would instantly pray for him and I quit responding to his mean behavior. I stopped returning meanness with meanness. It wasn't easy, but it worked. I kissed him and hugged him even when it wasn't comfortable. When ever it was possible my answer to him was "Yes."
We have been together for 15 years. We have six children. Two of our little ones passed away in 2006. I fell in love with him all over again as he held me through our tears. I have never been so proud of him as I was the day he carried our daughter's little casket. When our son passed away, he once again was there for me. I enjoy anything I can do to show him my love for him. We still don't share the same faith but he has a great respect for mine.
We don't have money. We have never taken a cruise. Our only vacations are camping trips or day trips with the kids. My husband used to get angry because he couldn't have all the bells and whistles like all the other guys, now he realizes that all the bells in the world won't bring happiness. People are more important than things. We both feel rich because we have one another and we have our beautiful children. Money and things can be snatched away tomorrow, but our relationship will survive forever.
S.W. answers from Minneapolis on September 28, 2009
I know you said you are not a fan of counseling, but I can't help but recommend it for you and he does not need to agree or to join you. From your description, your husband has SO already checked out of the marriage. No kissing or hugging?!? Two hours early to "get a good table"?? "working" all the time?? - come on, who is he fooling. He's giving it to someone else, girl! You really need to prepare yourself to take charge of your own life. Get a counselor or at least an honest friend to talk to. You're not like your mother, you're letting him walk all over YOU!
J.P. answers from Waterloo on September 28, 2009
Don't throw in the towel just yet - you sound like you truly still love him - just somewhere in the middle and kids you forgot about each other. What about taking that cruise - but just the two of you. Have you tried to join him at the sports bar to have a drink (even if it's pepsi) and watch the game. I am certainly not trying to imply that I think you need to do all the work here -you don't! and maybe you have tried these things. I would suggest counseling cause it really sounds like he could use some to get through his stressors of moving and his job. Does he feel like he is letting all of you down by moving? That is a question you may not be able to get out of him but a professional could? Good luck to you!! Find a local support system locally - you may not be religious but alot of times that is a great place to start looking for a support system - there maybe a group of wives/mom's that meet and discuss. Marriages are worth saving - if there is still love between the two.