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Is there any hope here?

(31 Posts)
latrucha Wed 04-Apr-12 17:18:16

I have posted about my situation before but things have moved on and not in a good way. I need advice as to whether there is any hope here and what to do if there is or is not.

DH and I have been together for 9 years and married for 5. We have 2 DCs, four and 20 months. We live far from both our families. DH is from another country. We have had a very tough time since we got married: a brief list -
- I had hyperemesis with DD and was housebound for most of the pregnancy, then she was an emergency c-section and was very difficult to get her to put on weight.
- My mother, who was a long-term alcoholic, died when DD was 10 months old.
- 6 months later my father was diagosed with terminal cancer, given 6 months to live, lived for 20 months.
- Dad died when DS was 4 months old after another difficult pregnancy in which DH supported me greatly.
- My brother had an alcoholic / nervous breakdown with which DH helped alot in order to help my sick father.
- DH is, if not a workaholic, then bordering on.

DH has been brilliant through all this until about a year ago. Very supportive practically, although not emotionally (he doesn't really know what to do, just talks over me without meaning to). He did a lot of things which I really didn't want him to, and asked him not to, like looking after the children at night or givingme lifts to places I didn't need. I was introspective and wasn't 'there' for him. I kept all the day to day things going: kids, house, finances etc (I am a SAHM) but he came bottom of the list. I havve admitted this and thanked him for his help. About a year ago I decided to get bereavement counselling which has helped a lot. Around Novemeber last year I started to feel a lot better: myself really which I have not felt for years.

At this point, how unhappy DH has been started to come out. He completely withdrew from me. He says he started treating me a I had been treating him. I'm not sure that that is fair, but who can say? That's how he feels.

We jogged along until two or three months ago when he basically told me he felt totally detached from everything except his work. He wanted time to get his head together, do some excercise and get fit (which he really needs).

We've had several conversations since then, which seem to get worse and worse. He says he doesn't blame me for how he feels, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, he really does. Some of the things he has said make it very difficult to live with him, including that he doesn't feel any love for me any more. He wishes he does but doesn't. He says he doesn't know how he is going to feel in the future, but for the moment, just to give him space.

I don't know if it is important to go into the details of how unfairly I think he is thinking here but I will give two examples. There are many. First, he thinks I don't supprot him in his job. Actually, the only thing I ask is that he is at home weekend days for the children. He can work any other time he wants. He travels for work a lot which I never oppose. I write his grant proposals for him as English is not his first language. How is this getting in the way of his work. I have put this to him. He has nothing to say.

Secondly, he says he carried out an 'experiment' on us a few weeks ago. He wanted some help with his work, so I prepared during the day while doing my work to do so in the evening. He bought wine and cheese etc. While I was talking he said, 'I remember now why I looked at you in the first place.' I found this offensive. Perhaps I was wrong to, but I lowered the emotional temperature and talked about y day, which includes the children. He joined in then shouted at me for talking about the children. I went to bed. When he revealed this was an experiment I was furious, though didn't show it. When he asked why I was being distant I told him that if he wanted an eveing not talking about the children he should say so, it didn't have to be so complicated.

Right now, I'm trying to keep my distance and be pelasant and give him his space. At times things seem more hopeful. We have a cuddle or a bit of silliness. But mostly it is distant ans sometimes it seems like he hates me. He treats me like a husband would treat a wife who's had an affair.

What do you think? Should I just tell him to make up his mind? should I give him more time and space? How long shoud I go on for? I really want to give this my very best shot. I never want a divorce and really and my children not to have to go through that. They adore him and he's very good with them.

My current plan is to stop being distant and try being friendly, and even affectionate for a while to see if this improves things. I'm worried that eventually the stress of the situation is going to kill any love I have for him too.

Thankyou for reading this far.

latrucha Wed 04-Apr-12 17:27:45

please?

clam Wed 04-Apr-12 17:29:07

I wonder if counselling would help you both? Might help to sort out the wood from the trees.

Kayano Wed 04-Apr-12 17:32:21

I think if you love him you need to grab him, kiss him and tell him confused

Sounds (to me - but I am notorious for not reading between lines well) like he might still feel bottom of the list for you emotionally. You sound quite methodical iyswim (writing papers, not bothered when he works personally but just for the kids). He was there for you emotionally when you were having a tough time and may feel like you are not the same in return

It seems to be the only reason I can think of as to why he would feel the need to instigate such an experiment. He was trying to offer a chance to recapture what you one had (you yourself admitted its not been great for a little while) yes he muddled his words a bit but you just shut down and deliberately just talked 'business' day/ kids etc.

I don't know how you can recapture what you had but If he is as great as you say you need to tell him loud and clear and not distance yourself.

Instead of saying he can work when he likes apart from weekend days for the kids, say he can work when he needs to and instead of it just being about the kids, get a sitter and suggest you go on a date. No kids or work talk but romance and reminiscing for the evening?

latrucha Wed 04-Apr-12 17:32:49

Thanks for reading. He totally refuses.

I asked him a few weeks ago if he had anyone to talk to about how he was feeling. He was totally defensive, saying he didnt know how he felt so how could he tell anyone else. I told him that was the point. He said I obviously didn't know him at all. I said I did and that I had expected that reaction but still thought it was worth saying. Totally rejected. Then I tried topoint out to him that some of the ways he was thinking weren't rational (like the work thing): it didn't go well.

Sorry. That was more than you were asking for!

curiousparent Wed 04-Apr-12 17:33:58

Agree with Clam re counselling. I think there is hope for you both but it just needs for you to re-connect with each other which can sometimes be difficult and painful.

Be honest with one another.

I agree you need to stop being distant and to be friendly, this will be a good base to build from.

Sorry so brief, must go out but good luck smile

Kayano Wed 04-Apr-12 17:34:21

Ps/
I do think your plan at the end of your op is a good one x

PurplePidjin Wed 04-Apr-12 17:34:42

'I remember now why I looked at you in the first place.' I found this offensive.

What is it that you find offensive about that statement? Sounds quite sweet and romantic to me.

I think your current plan is very sensible. You've both had a hell of a time, try to rediscover why you love each other.

Kayano Wed 04-Apr-12 17:35:22

Also I would refrain for saying stuff
Like 'well just make up your mind' as that might imply that you wouldn not be fussed ether way

oikopolis Wed 04-Apr-12 17:36:51

i'm sorry for the stress you're feeling OP.

can i just ask, is he from an Asian culture? i think there are intercultural issues here. in many cultures (Asian, but also others), being direct is considered disrespectful and rude. this doesn't always bode well in Western/non-Western partnerships because in the West, we consider it impolite, even patronising, to be indirect.

also if English isn't his first language, it's not nearly as easy for him to know the nuances of what will offend and what might just pique your interest. e.g. that "now i remember" comment. it sounds a bit off to me, but when i look at it i also wonder if he's directly translating something in his head that would be totally inoffensive in his language, but sounds a bit off in English.

even people who speak different dialects of English offend each other unintentionally. esp when there is stress in the mix. (I am not from UK and know all about this from personal exp...)

can't you look into counselling, with someone who specialises in intercultural relationships? even if you go on your own, it might help.

i'm sure there are other issues at play here but the cultural stuff really jumped out at me.

oikopolis Wed 04-Apr-12 17:39:24

and to answer your question, i think if you play ball/open up, there is definitely hope. he's trying to instigate change in his own clumsy way, and that's a fantastic sign imo.

clam Wed 04-Apr-12 17:44:52

Or..... <<hesitates>> is it at all possible that he has withdrawn from you emotionally because his needs are being met elsewhere?
(Sorry sad blush)

oikopolis Wed 04-Apr-12 18:06:56

^ i did think that at first clam

it is possible, but i think cultural issues (if any) might be in play here. if he were from the UK i would be shouting "other woman", but because he's not, i reserved judgement on that at first reading.

the fact that he seems to be trying to salvage things isn't typical of an OW situation imo. but that doesn't mean it's not possible.

latrucha Wed 04-Apr-12 18:09:34

Clam - I have considered this and I really don't think so. With another man, I would really think it was an option, but with DH it is far more likely to be work. Sort of sad but true. Others who know him well agree with me. I'm ready for if it is. That would be a 'pack your bag and go somewhere else while you decide' moment.

He's Spanish.

It has been pointed out to me why I might be wrong about the 'I remember..' comment.

I think it was because I was talking to DH about Kant - I have a PhD partly in philosophy and used to teach at uni. I was upset because the comment both implied directly that he had forgotten why he found me attractive and because it implied that for him to find me attractive I had to tlk transcendental philosophy, which I don't do often, being a SAHM with two preschoolers....

I'm glad some think there is hope and that my plan is a good one. I've got a tummy bug ATM and he is looking after the children (good, no?) while I'm in bed which is why I finally have tome to write this. He's being decidedly frosty because he's missing work (he'll make it up over the Easter weekend - he has a key to the building he works in).

I hope it's not all too late.

clam Wed 04-Apr-12 18:19:46

Well, for what it's worth, it was a long shot. It's often my first reaction being a cynic reading such opening posts, but I have to say that it wasn't here. Hence my suggestion for counselling. But it doesn't all add up to another woman in this case, as some do.
Anyway, you need to talk, for sure. But how to get him to the table?

latrucha Wed 04-Apr-12 18:21:52

Kayano - thanks for your advice. I think he still may and however angry he is, probably would still like to feel I love him. Being ambiguous probably isn't the best idea. I was trying to give him space, rather than be distant, as he asked. It doesn't seem to be improvig things though.

He is very angry though! With everyone and everything. And I'm pretty angry about many of the things he's said. I thikn we just have somehow to put all that to one side. Difficult to take the first step though.

He refuses to get a babysitter. DD was a very bad sleeper. Now she's great but he thinks it is bound to be the one night she wakes up and will freak out for ages.

He wasn't really there emotionally. He was practically though.

latrucha Wed 04-Apr-12 20:26:24

It is reassuring to hear others think, even on the basis of my post, that there's not an OW. I really don't think there is.

latrucha Wed 04-Apr-12 21:59:35

I have started my plan and he has accepted it so far. I have been complimentary about how he has dealt withthe children while I've been ill, apologised for him missing work, and stroked his hair while he went to sleep, which he likes.

If he really hated me, he wouldn't have let me, would he?

EggyFucker Wed 04-Apr-12 22:03:20

Operation Stepford Wife

oh dear

latrucha Wed 04-Apr-12 22:09:47

Far from it.

curiousparent Thu 05-Apr-12 06:57:10

Glad it has started well latrucha. Hope it continues. I think it can be difficult and not always easy but it is 'doable' so good luck smile

Charbon Thu 05-Apr-12 09:49:48

Oh the warning bells....they are deafening!

You've been through an enormous amount and during it, your husband offered practical but not emotional support. Fair enough, but you say that during this time you did much the same. You wrote his bids for him and helped him with his work and continued to do all the domestic work and childcare. In the circumstances you've described, most relationships take a bit of a hit, but grown-ups understand this and wait it out - or talk about it if they are feeling unhappy and unloved. Why does he get to be the one who doesn't 'do feelings and emotions' but you don't?

5 months ago he started distancing himself from you, has told you he doesn't love you and feels nothing, criticises you unfairly, asks for space, is defensive when you ask him if he's leaning on 'someone else', sets you up to fail with 'experiments' and in general, creates the conditions where you are left insecure, vulnerable and desperate to up your game so that his feelings for you change.

I think all of this is absolute bollocks and there is defintely someone else.

Even the criticisms have no basis in fact. If you're helping him with his work, tolerating his work obsession 5 days out of 7, doing all the domestic stuff and childcare while he's not there and giving him the emotional space he says he needs, what more does he expect you to do?

Did he say what he's going to do incidentally to work on the relationship and get the love back? Or have these conversations been all about what you must do to get him and your marriage back?

Please don't fall for it. You are being manipulated.

I assure you that right now, you could turn into superwoman and nothing you did would improve his feelings for you. Because he's got someone else and he needs you to believe that he's got every justification for it, because that strengthens his own warped justifications.

If I were you I'd be very circumspect about whether he is always working these long hours and I'd start making my own discreet enquiries, including a look at his phone and laptop. You'll get no honesty from him at all.

Charbon Thu 05-Apr-12 11:15:12

Another weird thing. You said you had posted before, so I looked at your threads. I saw the one you posted in December about your relationship and I remember coming across it late one night but was too tired to post (sorry) but I recall being puzzled that no-one had suggested an affair.

latrucha Thu 05-Apr-12 14:48:59

I agree that there ae warning signs in spades that our marriage is in a bad way but with DH I don't think it necessarily adds up to an affair. He and we do have a problem with his attitude to work, for which he does hve all sorts of justifications, some warped some not. Before we had the children we could accomodate his craziness as he could work all night (at home) and all it would mean was that he was tired the next day. Now we have the kids, he has another excuse to work (for their future security) while it is a lot harder to accomodate it.

An affair would be easier to deal with in some ways. I haven't said I'm certain that he's not, just that I don't think so.

''in general, creates the conditions where you are left insecure, vulnerable and desperate to up your game so that his feelings for you change.''

I agree he has done this, although I am not desperate to please him, just to give things the best chance they can have, so if everything does fall apart I can tell myself and the children I tried. I've made it clear to him he is not going to erode my self esteem.

Being myself with him, as I was last night, is more sincere and less difficult than keeping my distance as I have been doing. It felt fine and natural.

I have a certain period of time in my mind that I'm willing to to try for. I thikn the main danger with this is that I give him enough rope to hang himself.

Charbon Thu 05-Apr-12 15:55:55

I think the main danger with this is that you will reward him for treating you very badly and will beat yourself up about it afterwards if you find out that he was having an affair all along.

However, I support your logic in behaving naturally and sincerely but it also makes logical sense to rule out the most likely cause of a problem doesn't it? Then if an investigation reveals nothing. it means your decision to wait it out until a deadline is one that's been taken with all the information that is possibly available to you. I certainly wouldn't make any decisions based on a hunch that he's not having an affair, or indeed a hunch that he was. I'd rule it out or in, bearing in mind that it is the most likely reason for his behaviour.

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