To answer your question, sahmd, no I never feel physically scared of him. Though I do worry about what he can do to me emotionally, and that I get into habits of "learned guilt" around him. He definitely has the more dominant personality of us two. I also just realized how awful my last paragraph sounded... I do want it to work, I do want positive changes to make those feelings happen more often.. but I'm just scared that the changes will happen and the feelings won't. I'd hate to show him that all his hard work wasn't enough.
Here is something that is worrying me a little: Why is snuggling with your husband and simply enjoying his presence tantamount to a "time-out"? Finding the answer to this question may prove to be an important step towards untangling whatever it is that ails your marriage.
Also, defining and re-defining your roles, both perceived and expected, within the relationship may be helpful. The reason I say this is that in some of your messages I am catching an undertone of a subconscious expectation for your husband to be more like the faithful companion "Friday" than the equal partner in a marriage. This is not a criticism in any way, shape or form, but rather an observation which you may or may not find helpful. I know that within my relationships (including friendships), at times I have subconsciously painted people into frames, which diminished the growth capacity and strength of the relationship, and in each case the relationship did not reach its full potential until I recognized this. Quite often, the other person has just as much of a hand (and in some cases carries most of the responsibility) in painting themselves into a given role (a la
Mr. Sweet: "You are treating me like a child!"
Mrs. Sweet: "Well, you are acting like a (pouty ) child!").
From what you have described thus far, it appears that your husband is in need of some extra affection - an opportunity to feel important, to feel like a priority, to feel loved not out of habit, but with passion and dedication. This may be because he is "needy" due to some underlying psychological issues or because his emotional requirements are simply greater than average (whatever we perceive as average).
One last thought, your last paragraph did not sound awful at all (at least not to me) - it sounded honest, vulnerable, and deeply human. What is the worst that can happen - you discover that you are not happy with your husband, no matter what you do and how you try to change things? So... it is not the end of the world, quite the opposite - two people, feeling trapped in at best a mediocre and at worst a miserable marriage, get a second chance to find happiness, each on his/her own. What's the best that can happen? You get to write this happy story, as an example and an inspiration for the rest of us...
I really appreciate the honest input. I have been asking my husband for ages to try to pinpoint some specific behaviors that irk him or overtones in our relationship that are difficult for him to deal with it. He often has refused to talk or said he doesn't know, until this weekend and our several very productive conversations. So I'm always glad, not offended, to hear about some things I might work on. I'm a logical person, and I'm a "list" person- if I can organize things around a few specifics at a time, it's a lot easier for me to feel that I'm truly working on things.
I actually think that I DO spontaneously cuddle with him, pay attention to him, etc.. but it's either not been when he wants, or hasn't been enough, as evidenced by how he's been feeling. That's what we're going to try to figure out. I'm thinking that if the person I'm cuddling WITH is a receptive partner and not a growling, scowling guy on the verge of a tantrum, it won't feel like a time-out at all! I just found it odd and funny that he felt he had to impose rules ("No eating/drinking. No fiddling with your nails absently..etc.) lol.
And of course, you're right.. if it STILL doesn't work, it will be sad but not the end of the world. Knowing nothing about divorce, I actually went to howstuffworks.com the other day and tried to figure out the nuts and bolts, just in case. It all sounded so.. cold, even if you're able to keep things amiable. I think this is excellently timed, in a way, because if you take a look at my previous post about crushes... the resident I referred to is actually away right now. I'm sorry to say that I think having him around in the midst of all of this might be a recipe for trouble if it were only to make me try less hard.... ah well, I'm hoping this, too, will fade as things improve.
what you write worries me. I think you've had wonderfully thoughtful input so far. But I will be more firm in my reading of what you describe because it sounds to me like you are in an emotionally abusive relationship.
I read that you are turning somersaults to avoid harsh replies from your husband. And then you are apologizing in second posts (suggesting you are ranting, worrying about how what you write sounds) following your initial descriptions. I don't think you should second-guess yourself. Go with your initial first gut response to what is happening at home.
I think threatening with divorce is an emotionally-terrorizing statement. It is the threat of abandonment.
Abusers often isolate their partners from social support. Your husband's unhappiness with your going out with friends after several months of not seeing them could be a step in that direction.
I would like to ask: does your husband try to block things that make you happy??
It may be that nothing you try with your husband is working (it seems like you are trying differnet approaches with him) because that is exactly what he wants - he doesn't want you to succeed - he is angry, and whether you go out or don't go out, or sit on the couch this way or that way, he will still be angry. He wants to keep you tied to him by pulling you down. I will guess that he has low self-esteem, and he is perceptive of your tremendous talent, although you may not yet realize either of things. This is hypothesis, my own take on what you've posted, and based on my own experience.
I would guess that he is not always genuine with you. For example, when he says he doesn't want to go out, but then seems to have a good time but won't admit to it. Watch him - this is a more clear assessment of him, rather than listening to his words.
I read that he is playing the victim role.
The conversation between you two seems to be too much about what You are supposed to work on (as if you have a problem) rather than what You-Two have to work on regarding the relationship's problem.
This issue about you on the couch for 10 minutes sounds much like an adoration thing - like you are supposed to be behaving for him or showing your devotion or something. It really could be an example of the kind of attention a narcissist needs (they need attention/adulation/adoration what is called narcissist-supply). I went back to re-read but couldn't find the 'simple change' that he is going to try in exchange for your 10-minute thing.
Here is what you wrote and I would encourage you to take your own advice:
"I might as well just do what I please." Do just that, what you choose to do based on your own insights, preferences, life experiences. (Your husband can come along for the ride, or not.)
Sisriver, I have said the same thing myself, about him "blocking happiness." It's almost a joke between us: He often says "I hate that show/song/kind of pizza/place/.." and when I ask why, he says, "because YOU like it!" This is supposed to be funny.. he does have an offbeat sense of humor, but other little things such as reflexively reaching to turn off the radio if I say I like a song, or making a big fuss over "sitting through" a movie that I like.. I do think he means it to be funny, although that sounds ridiculous. I also think that some twisted part of him thinks that in order to be "masculine", he'd have to like completely different things from me, and if we liked some of the same stuff, he wouldn't be "different enough" from me. Does that make sense?
Anyway, here I go, to run the gamut.. my kiddo just almost coded in MRI so I am headed home laaaaate..... lets see if he's on his best behavior...hee hee hee...I might even get crazy and stop at Starbucks... I know, what a rebel. :yes:
I have been following your posts this last week, and each time, I have meant to write—there is so much similarity between how your husband is acting and how my husband was acting 8 or 9 months ago… I too have avoided bringing something up for fear of either ruining a peaceful moment, or adding to his already sour mood; I too feel like I’m walking on egg shells when school keeps me late or I have to study on the weekends; I too have been unable to spend time with close friends due to his need for me at home with him or his refusal to go out with us; I too suspected that my husband was suffering from depression, and thus experiencing some dependency/social anxiety issues stemming from that… I could go on, but you get the idea.
The main difference between our situations is the time line.. I think that I am a little further down the progression of things. Back in February, after months of being at “rock bottom,” my husband did seek help for his depression, and began taking medications. For my depression (yes, I also was very frozen by my depression), I began seeing a counselor regularly. Later that spring, we started going to couple’s counseling where we learned how to put superficial band aids on deeply seated issues and basically “play nice.” It was good for bringing focus back to our relationship, but it turned out to not be so good for actually working on the root issues. We stopped going in September due to a scheduling conflict, and haven’t been back. Currently, the discomfort for both of us persists… he still feels abandoned and that my priorities are out of whack and I am not putting him/our marriage ahead of my school/career as I “should” be, and I am still feeling disconnected from him, not genuinely desiring to spend time with him and having difficulty connecting to him physically/emotionally/intellectually.
Despite his and my own depression resolving (improving?), I feel that the damage has been done, and the “warm, fuzzy” feelings are not returning for me as I had hoped. For all those months, I assured myself that the “dead” feeling inside me for him was just a result of the months of depression and emotional damage from his manipulation and neediness… I was sure that I would begin to feel attracted to him again, that I would feel the desire to cuddle or romance him… but I am still at a loss… And when I think about the future, I get nervous knowing the impending demands on my time. If he (as BabyHeartz said) “feels and resents that everything (housework, sex, meals, recreation) has to happen on ‘my time,’” how are we ever going to move forward? I’ve had a similar phenomenon happen to me that you say you fear—he has been an “angel” for the past few months (at least relative to the last several years), and we are both “working on it” and making compromises for each other, but I am still not “feeling it.” It is soo scary, because as long as he’s “trying so hard” I feel wrong to still want out or to not feel those feelings for him again… I feel as if there is something wrong with me not to see how wonderfully committed and dedicated to me he is.
Also, Sweet, thank you for your insightful feedback to BabyHeartz… I am taking much of it to heart as well, given that I feel that I am in a similar situation. Just as BabyHeartz mentions, I am trying hard to keep things in perspective, and to not make a big deal out of nothing, but I am also trying to be honest about how I feel and what I desire in the future, and it is so hard to know when to push and to give.