Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

feeling disconnected from dh

(17 Posts)
gorgeoushippo Wed 23-Jan-13 00:36:29

Just that really. We've been together 14 years, since I was at school. We have 3 dc together and in lots of ways now our life together is pretty great.

We split up last year for 6 months after he had depression and became unbearable to live with. To be honest, things had not been great for years. He is much better now, is making massive efforts to be kind to me and the kids and treats me as an equal.

However, although we have been to Relate and spent lots of quality time alone together, things just don't feel ok for me. I feel like we are not really connected emotionally.

I don't want to separate from him, and he says he is very happy (not sure this is true) and certainly doesn't want us to split. I can't tell him how I feel because it would hurt him so much, and he is already trying so hard.

Any suggestions as to how to make our relationship better?

izzyizin Wed 23-Jan-13 01:13:05

During the time he was 'unbearable to live with' and during the previous 'not great years', I'm guessing you took a verbal and emotional battering, if not worse.

Consequently, you may have the adage 'Leopards don't change their spots' running through your mind and, if you're waiting for Dr Jekyll to turn into Mr Hyde, so to speak, it's unlikely that you'll feel able to relax around him.

As you don't want to seperate again, I would suggest you give it time to see if those 'massive efforts' he's making to be kind to you and the dc begin to be effortless on his part as I suspect it will only be when you can feel confident he won't hurt you again, that you'll be able to relax and feel some sense of emotional connection with him.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 23-Jan-13 07:32:15

The 'emotional connection' missing is good old-fashioned, thoroughly irrational love. No amount of trying or wanting or feeling obliged can make you love someone if your heart just isn't in it. Same applies vice versa, of course. When you love someone, there's very little anyone can say or do to make you feel otherwise.

I expect 'not great for years' mean you quite enjoyed the six month separation and that's why you're struggling now. 'How you going to keep 'em down on the farm now that they've seen Paris'? I also don't think you trust him to be consistent now. You're suspicious that these 'massive efforts' will come to an end when he reverts to type.

gorgeoushippo Wed 23-Jan-13 13:26:08

Thanks for replying. I think you are both right. I can't relax around him yet and it all feels a bit forced. Cog, I didn't enjoy the separation, I cried more or less the whole time.
I just sometimes feel a sort of desperation. I want comfort, but can't get it from dh, maybe because I feel a bit like he would be comforting me for the hurt he has caused?
He is a good man but we are very different and I think he struggles to understand me. I do love him I think.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 23-Jan-13 13:53:40

" I want comfort, but can't get it from dh"

That's a no-win situation then. "Can't live with them, can't live without them"... you end up miserable either way. The last separation was a half-way house, fence-sitting solution which is never satisfactory. Think you have to make a permanent decision sooner rather than later and live with whatever the consequences happen to be.

gorgeoushippo Wed 23-Jan-13 14:08:08

It seems like a no win situation.
Separating was supposed to be permanent. I can't do it. I know how pathetic this all is. I've lived with dh all my adult life, apart from the separation.
I just want things to be ok.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 23-Jan-13 14:12:03

You'd probably make a better job of it if it was genuinely permanent. Leaving the door open for yourself makes committing to a new life almost impossible. Going back to the familiar only to find it's not the same as it was, things are not OK and you still feel crap... where does that get you? A 'piss or get off the pot' situation, as my friend would say.

gorgeoushippo Wed 23-Jan-13 14:18:03

: )
Thing is I'm definitely off the pot now! Really don't want to split up. It's the feeling crap part that is the problem.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 23-Jan-13 14:22:08

"I can't tell him how I feel because it would hurt him so much, and he is already trying so hard."

Then you have to stop denying your hurt feelings, stop prioritising his hurt feelings and get all this, warts and all, out in the open and properly tackled... actions rather than words. Whenever my DS protests that he is 'trying so hard' I remind him what Yoda said to Luke Skywalker....

Do. Or do not. There is no 'try'

gorgeoushippo Wed 23-Jan-13 14:27:18

Yikes. Going to have a think about that. Thanks : )

scaevola Wed 23-Jan-13 14:31:08

It's OK to work on mending a marriage. It'll either work or it won't, and you can go it alone later if you change your mind. It's not a soft option to work together on genuine change, though, and it's a journey you need to be sure you want to take together.

There isn't a magic formula for recapturing a feeling of true connectedness. But if he keeps putting his energy into you and the family, and his company is good enough, then simply hanging on in there is at least part of the answer. You need to be vigilant as to whether the changes you have welcomed are enduring. Keeping it up over time will help you regain trust that it can stay good enough on the prosaic day to day basis. When you are more convinced of that, you may feel less vulnerable and be able to open up emotionally (there's no timetable for that); and that might be the start of a further phase of healing.

gorgeoushippo Thu 24-Jan-13 23:11:40

I can't talk to him about how I feel. I'm still talking to him about so many little issues every day, mostly parenting things. I can't lay my broken heart on him too.

Scaevola, thanks for your reply, I'm hoping that time will help. I want his company to be good enough, but there is some kind of atmosphere around him. I'm trying to make it better, but not very successfully. I know he needs to sort himself out really.

BertieBotts Thu 24-Jan-13 23:20:24

<Nods at Cogito's post> The word "try" is very loaded. We usually feel like it's a positive thing, indicates making a real effort, giving something a good go, but in fact it is negative. Somebody who says "I'll try" - even if they really mean it with good intentions, if they say they'll "try" they're still keeping open that option of failing. Hey, at least they can say they tried after all wink.

I realise that "he's trying" might be your words and not his, but what does that tell you - you're keeping open, acknowledging that option that he might fail, so you don't have 100% faith in him. Which is totally understandable given the history! But I wonder also if there's an element of "He's trying but he'll never be able to fix this" because you know in your heart that he can't do it alone and your part in it isn't there.

BertieBotts Thu 24-Jan-13 23:21:13

What about individual counselling for you?

gorgeoushippo Thu 24-Jan-13 23:34:58

I've been twice to the relate guy on my own, but I'm not very good at counselling tbh. Veer between telling him nothing, and total breakdown disaster. Maybe that means I should go back!

Trying is an interesting word...

gorgeoushippo Thu 24-Jan-13 23:44:21

My part in it isn't there. Didn't realise that. Think I'm still waiting for an apology for everything.
I am so sick of feeling like this.

gorgeoushippo Sun 03-Mar-13 23:16:09

Still feeling rubbish.
Anyone have any ideas about self-soothing? Need to feel better somehow. (Please don't say LTB! I really don't want to and he's not a B!)

I went back to the counsellor, not much joy, official verdict: I'm ok, he's not but there's no obvious reason why we can't get through this together.

Dh unlikely to go back to Relate, money is tight and he 'doesn't need to'. He has apologised for his past behaviour, and he does know what I expect in our relationship and in his behaviour to the dcs, so things are definitely improved, but I still feel (unreasonably?) desolate.

Any advice would be much appreciated xx

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now