When You Love Your Husband, but You Don't like Him Very Much Right Now.

Updated on January 28, 2018
M.6. asks from Woodbridge, NJ
10 answers

My husband I have have been married a long time and we have 6 kids, ages almost 30 down to 17, with just one left at home. We've been through thick and thin together. I can't imagine my life without him, and both of us are in love with each other. However, although I love my husband dearly, I am struggling to like him right now. I know it's a "phase" - you can't like someone ALL the time :) This is starting to bug me, though, I am trying to find a way past it.

My husband is a hypochondriac. He has been to the doctor more times THIS YEAR (yep, in 24 days), than I've been in the last 3 years, and I have a chronic illness that I am treated at the Mayo in Rochester for. Some of his illnesses are real - but largely due to his refusal to take care of himself. We used to go to the same regular doctor, but a few years ago that doctor sat down and told him right out that he could not effectively treat my husband with his somewhat destructive behaviors - that he didn't believe just handing my husband a pill (or 8) would really solve anything. My husband refused to see our doctor anymore and changed to another one. One who hands out pills (not pain pills), for just about everything, rather than examine lifestyle changes. This wouldn't be quite so bad if my husband wouldn't then justify increasing his behaviors because the medication allows him to. Which in turn causes the doctor to increase the medication (because the issues get worse), causing more side effects . . . it's a vicious cycle. Some of his "illnesses" are really a stretch of the imagination. For example, one of the side effects of Viagra is hearing loss. My husband swore that the Viagra was making him deaf (sigh). So, he did a baseline with the audiologist, then had to go back multiple times for testing, only to find out that he had zero hearing loss other than the normal aging process. 5 visits and about a thousand dollars later, my husband was declared to have no hearing loss. Now, my husband is considering surgery that could completely affect both of our lives for the worse because he wants more "relief" than one of the drugs he takes can give him. The surgery is dangerous and the chances of it actually relieving his symptoms are quite slim, but my husband is meeting with yet another doctor today hoping this one will refer him for this surgery (two other doctors have refused the surgical referral so far).

Some of the issues he faces (like his eating/overweight) are fallout from raising our one son who had to be put in out of home placement for our safety. He is in a locked facility for dd/emotionally disturbed young adults with 24 hr awake care due to his extreme level of violence. We both suffer PTSD from providing this care in our home for over 10 years ourselves. After 3 years of working on things, I have come a long way - my husband seems to still use this as a crutch (and the therapist feels the same). The rest of the issues have always really been around. Zero exercise, over salting (to an abnormal level) food, terrible eating habits, struggle with weight gain - those all have been struggles for years, but amplified by the stress of our one son (plus just the regular stress of raising 6 kids, working, etc. - that can take a toll on a person, too).

I'm not giving up, nor do I even criticize anymore. I kept my eye rolls to myself when I found out that he has already met our deductible FOR THE FAMILY for this year. I have been planning extra mini-date nights into our week as I have always believed that when couples are struggling, they should spend MORE time together, not less.

I'm just floundering this time with coming back to really liking my husband right now. He is a great guy and easy to like, but this medical stuff mixed with his refusal to really buckle down and take care of himself is very frustrating.

Any other long time married folks have some brilliant advice on how to get through this rough patch? I know we will . . . maybe I need separate counseling about this? Ugh!

What can I do next?

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

It sounds like you've lost some respect for him. You're the glue that holds the family together and have a health condition, and he's creating mountains out of molehills where they doesn't need to be any.

He obviously has an underlying issue (from the PTSD) that he needs to address - on his own, and you just need to support him. But he's not being your rock - and that sucks (if I'm reading this correctly). You need a partner - not someone who is creating havoc in your lives. You already have enough stress from the sounds of it.

Can you just tell him that? I have these frank discussions (honest, but loving .. or I try to) with my husband from time to time, and he does the same with me.

If we're letting each other down (happens) then sometimes a frank conversation is what is needed.

I get there are reasons for it. Everyone has reasons for letting people down. In marriage counseling - they have you say very specifically what you need to have happen.

You could decide on a set amount $ that he can spend on deductible for example (agree that he's not to go over it). Even if you can afford it, say "I'm not comfortable with more than ...").

It's also ok for you to say "I love you, but I cannot hear any more about your ears".

I think that might help you feel more like there's some control. He sounds quite out of control with his hypochondria. It's ok for you to have boundaries. They are so important in marriages. It's what keeps that respect between partners.

I do hope he gets some more help for his PTSD. I think he needs to be in a good place himself before he can start working on your marriage. But by him being in a better place, your marriage can only improve :) Best to you

10 moms found this helpful

D.D.

answers from Boston on

Every marriage hits those annoying patches. I found that when I am having a hard time dealing with my hubby (who is a wonderful guy that I love with all my heart) I have to remind myself that he's a grown up and gets to make choices and do things I wouldn't choose or do. But its hard because his choices can impact us as a couple in the long run.

In your case with the surgery I'd say its ok to voice your opinion. My hubby actually needed both knees replaced and kept not having it done. When he'd ask I'd say 'At this point you have to ask yourself if you want to live a life that's limited due to your bad knees' and leave it at that. It took almost 10 yrs before he actually had it done but it had to be his decision although it impacted both of us.

As far as his weight. Again not in your wheelhouse to control however load the fridge with fruits and veggies. Use a lot of veggies in your cooking.

8 moms found this helpful
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M.S.

answers from Oklahoma City on

I am sorry to hear you are going through all this. This seems way more than a rough patch. He has clinical levels of anxiety and is chronically engaging in self-destructive behaviors. Perhaps he is subconsciously punishing himself for the situation with your child that is nonger in the home. Time to have a “come to Jesus” discussion where you state specifically the steps you need him to take to right this ship. I would meet with a counselor to figure out those steps and to help you articulate them. I would also start my backup plan in case he continues self-destructing: separate the money and start saving for your future. I’d let him know you are needing to do this for you and the children. Also, I’d write his doctor a letter sharing your concerns. I wish you both the best. Your love for him comes through in your post. These are some extremely challenging circumstances to navigate.

7 moms found this helpful
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D..

answers from Miami on

I know this isn't about what you're asking, but what I want to recommend to you is to talk to or write his doctors. Don't tell your husband that you are doing it. You have the right to do it. The doctor can't talk to you about his care unless he has signed you onto his HIPAA form, but you can say anything you want to the doctor. That way they can see the other side of it and decide what to do with all the information, rather than just what he tells them.

Does he have a life insurance policy? Long term health insurance? If he doesn't, you need to insist on it. It will cost a lot, but do it anyway. He isn't going to change because he doesn't want to. But making sure that you can manage life without him is very important.

Is there an advance directive? Has he ever signed a paper for you to have medical and financial power of attorney for him? If not, go to an attorney who specializes in this and find out what you need. Once you know what you need, take him with you to the attorney and let the attorney explain why it's important for you to have these papers. Tell him in front of the attorney that you are concerned about his health and that if he becomes incapacitated, you cannot take care of him and business without it. Tell him that you are just being realistic because of his health history.

You can love your husband, but you don't have to go down in a sinking ship with him without a lifeboat. Powers of attorney, life insurance and estate planning in advance (and omg, a last will and testament) are the absolute minimum tools in your lifeboat. You should insist on this, and tell him that it's a deal-breaker in your marriage. I know it will be hard to think in these terms, but if indeed his health is as bad as you have indicated because of his poor lifestyle, you just must do something here.

You can't make him change his lifestyle, but you can make him prepare for impairment (like a stroke) or early death.

Who knows - if you are bent on this course and stay this course, maybe he will wake up to the realization that he needs to change his thought processes about his health.

7 moms found this helpful

B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

I think you guys have lived so long under stress that you don't how to not be in crisis mode.
What you and your husband did to get you through it all worked for you - but now that you/he don't need 'the crutch' you don't know how to put it down.

Talking with his doctor is a good idea.
It will be a one sided conversation but he can listen to your concerns.

Work on one thing at a time.
Habits are hard to break.
If he's a salt-a-holic - try to get him to drink a lot of water to help flush it out.
Also play with seasonings - try some new recipes - maybe you can take a cooking class together.
A co-worker and his wife took an oriental cooking class together and they had a great time learning how to use a wok.
Some more garlic or ginger and/or spices can take some of the salt out of the equation.

6 moms found this helpful
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M.S.

answers from Washington DC on

Beyond the great advice below, I would tell your husband in all seriousness that you finally have some reprieve with your child safely in a care facility and that he is dangerously close to making you a caregiver again, because of his recklessness with his health. It's extremely selfish.

5 moms found this helpful

T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Here's the thing, that you MUST know by now, you can't convince other people to take care of themselves. You just can't. He's a grown man and if he has had these habits for years it's very unlikely he's going to change unless HE wants to.
So what CAN you do? Back off. Leave him alone. I understand being worried but that isn't going to make a difference one way or another. so stop wasting energy on that. He knows how you feel.
As far as the cost, well that's tricky. I'm sure he doesn't agree with every single purchase you make, right? I mean even in the best of marriages there are going to be issues like this, so unless this is going to send you guys into debt or something I think you should just let it go.
Of course if you don't find him physically attractive anymore then that's a whole different discussion.

4 moms found this helpful

W.W.

answers from Washington DC on

please talk to your husband and tell him your fears about this upcoming surgery.

sounds like your husband needs to change therapists.

I wish you the best of luck. This must be a VERY hard situation to be in.

I know there are time that I don't like my husband. and I know there are times he doesn't like me - but this? This is tough. He's going to cause more problems than fix. I'm really sorry!

3 moms found this helpful
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N.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

You have been through the mental health arean many times I'm sure. Your husband has fixated on something he can control. It's not a healthy thing either.

I suggest counseling but I'm sure he wouldn't go unless you make it out about you and that he can go and help "fix" you. In the backhanded sort of way to get him there.

But I'm not sure he'd go very long but it's obvious he's running away from the things he can't control.

Please see if you can get him to go. If not, go for yourself. You can talk with someone about the PTSD and you know it's lingering. I haven't had a panic attack in years but I still do some avoidance behaviors that "I" think are perfectly normal...like always sitting by an exit. With my side by the door so I can get out quickly. I don't go in rooms and sit where I'm not at the back, out of sight of most of the room, and right where I can pop up and be gone.

3 moms found this helpful
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S.S.

answers from Atlanta on

why would a doctor do a surgery that won't relieve the pain? I don't get it.

My husband doesn't like going to the doctor. So I don't know what it's like to have a husband who constantly needs attention for being "sick". The therapist didn't help him? Or was telling him what he didn't want to hear?

It's January and he's already met the deductible? HOLY MOLEY!!! That's huge. I'm sorry. I wish I knew how to help you.

3 moms found this helpful

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