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Anybody else TOTALLY unable to communicate with their partner / husband?

(59 Posts)
curious2 Wed 12-Oct-11 17:53:44

H and I have serious problems in our relationship which now mean that we live emotionally and physically separate lives within the same house. Yet despite what is staring me in the face, I am TOTALLY unable to broach the subject with him. Mainly because I know from past experience that he will simply get angry, blame it all on me and shout me down so to speak.
However how long can I carry on living with my head in the sand?????
Just wondering whether anybody else has found themselves in this situation and what you think it actually means?
H extremely unlikely to consider couples counselling. I have started to see a counsellor (not relate) by myself in the hope that I will understand myself and the situation better.
I am 42 but feel as if my emotional / sexual life is over and as if all that is lack of excitement and a general feeling of drifting hopelessly about sad. Should add that we have three children who are 5, 7 and 9 and whom we both love to bits.

curious2 Wed 12-Oct-11 17:54:39

"all that is left"

CailinDana Wed 12-Oct-11 18:06:52

Sounds like a horrible situation sad If it's very hard to say these things to your H would it be worth writing him a letter? Nothing too confrontational just a heartfelt letter that tells him how you feel without blaming him. Was your relationship once good or was it always hard to communicate?

JamieComeHome Wed 12-Oct-11 18:14:37

I'm afraid I think it means you will become increasingly unhappy until it starts to affect your mental health or physical health, and then possibly the happiness and feeling of security of your children.

I think the idea of writing a letter is a good one. Also, maybe arrange to speak to him outside of the house so he cannot shout. But maybe delay this until you have seen your counsellor and are feeling a little stronger and clearer-headed.

JamieComeHome Wed 12-Oct-11 18:15:41

sorry, I meant "when you have seen your counsellor for a while"

curious2 Wed 12-Oct-11 18:16:17

hi thanks for answering - we have always had ups and downs but we used to be a lot closer. I did once write him an email which resulted in him putting an end to a particularly long bout of sulking (weeks) but he never discussed any of the issues with me. That's what is completely lacking, the ability to talk about us in any way, shape or form. I could try emailing him again but he is a very proud character with quite a few chips on his shoulder so the idea of talking to him face to face is just scary. I could probably only do it properly if I was planning to leave and had to tell him!

curious2 Wed 12-Oct-11 18:17:25

sorry jamie, missed your post - yes I was thinking yesterday that maybe I should stop beating myself up about not being able to talk and wait until I have seen the counsellor for longer and feel, as you say, stronger

JamieComeHome Wed 12-Oct-11 18:19:06

This sounds so hard. It's just so basic to a relationship - the ability to say how you feel, and be listened to. When you were closer - did you ever discuss your relationships, plans, things that were annoying you about him?

I'm concerned that you say "scary"

JamieComeHome Wed 12-Oct-11 18:20:40

scary because of what he might do, or scary because stuff might come out or be said which will be too painful or result in a split?

AlmostGivenUp Wed 12-Oct-11 19:50:10

OP - I'm in an almost identical situation. My wife fully accepts that we have serious issues to deal with in our marriage but is either incapable of engaging or refuses to engage. She has on one occasion become angry but usually just switches off and buttons her lip - just doesn't engage. She says sorry a lot and then usually says "I don't know what else to say".

I have tried absolutely everything to open up communication. I have had my own counsellor for 2 years but she refuses to go to individual or couple counselling. I'm at my wits end. I would love to help you but I'm a very long way from finding a solution myself.

Effjay Wed 12-Oct-11 19:59:12

Could he be depressed? It can lead to some pretty negative behaviour. If so, he needs to consult a GP.

My DH was becoming increasing difficult and irrational to deal with, over really minor stuff, a couple of years ago. I knew things weren't quite right, but didn't know how to deal with it.

I then read an article in the Times by Robert Crampton, who detailed how he had recognised he was depressed and sought help. I showed it to DH. This clearly rang true with DH who took short course of CBT and who now takes an AD, which has improved things considerably. He's a lot more measured and even tempered in his response to things, which makes life a whole lot easier for me!

Effjay Wed 12-Oct-11 20:00:53

I would like to personally thank Robert Crampton for having the courage to write that article.

CreakyFun Wed 12-Oct-11 20:06:00

Could you give a little more background about your relationship? How long have you been together and when did you start failing to communicate? How long after you met did you marry and have children and how old are you both.

Not communicating in the way that you describe is soul destroying. It may be passive-aggressive behaviour or any other myriad reasons but certainly you cannot continue like this. Something has to change.

Allboxedin Wed 12-Oct-11 20:08:30

Curious, yes us! very similar situation so I totally understand but have no advice sorry! sad

Phwooooar Wed 12-Oct-11 20:14:19

You could have written that original posting for me OP and that awful feeling of drifting hopelessly but hanging in for the dc. I was in the same situation as you for many years, including separate bedrooms. Just couldn't get through to him without the anger, blame and shouting. I suggested counselling - he refused. His behaviour was totally out of order - so many things I could mention. We are now going through divorce as I finally did pull my head out of the sand. He did go to counselling when I finally got the courage to ask for a divorce and I don't know the outcome of it as he won't talk about it - just blames me for everything we are going through currently.

Effjay - I think that article is very valid. I'm sure my ex was/is depressed but his refusal to recognise any of it just lead to too many years of me turning away from him and his irrational behaviour.

Effjay Wed 12-Oct-11 21:01:55

It's so hard when they don't acknowledge or don't know how to deal with the problem. I was on the receiving end of a lot of irrational behaviour and it it wasn't for that article, I'm not sure where we'd be, as we'd been muddling along for a number of years, steadly declining. If I'd tried to have the conversation, it would have fallen on deaf ears, but for some reason the article hit home.

CactusRash Wed 12-Oct-11 21:19:03

Same situation here curious apart from the fact that trying to talk to H means a wall of silence.

What hasn't worked for me:
- putting more and more distance emotionally between us as the 'not talking' was just too hurtful (In some wasy it increased the distance between us and made the lack of love even more evident or did it reinforce it?)
- thinking he 'should' see that things aren't right and 'know' there was a need to do something about it (and taking the initiative for it).
- being emotional in my requests.
What has, in some ways, worked:
- clarifying my thoughts and emotions. Knowing myself what I was findingg difficult and why. Being able to articulate it. And knowing what is a deal braker for me and what isn't.
- going to see a counsellor (who helped a lot in the process above but to be fair I also had done quitea lot of the thinking on my own before hand)
- telling H that there was a crisis situation as 'change or get dovorce' type of thing. That is the one and only thing that made him listen to me enough to realize he had to change and be willing to stop sticking his own head in the sand (out of fear I believe)

I think you really need to understand why you are sticking your head in the sand before being able to do anything. No point in putting a lot of pressure on yourself 'I am ging to talk to him tomorrow' type of thing. It doesn't work and will only make you even more stressed/guilty.


YummyHoney Wed 12-Oct-11 21:30:18

Almostgivenup I think I'm your wife. (not really) I am just like that with my husband and it's because I don't love him but he won't accept it.

I switched off emotionally and pretty much physically, years ago but I plod on for the sake of our children and because I can't be bothered with the fall-out of splitting up.

TBH I think there are an awful lot of people out there living similar lives/lies.

OP Sorry I can't offer any advice.

curious2 Wed 12-Oct-11 21:45:31

Wow - thank you for all your kind and thoughtful responses. In one way I am glad I am not the only one, though sad for everyone else who is going through the same thing.

I am 42 and my dh is 55. We have always had a very up and down relationship but we used to be a lot closer. Over the years but especially since having our children (now 5, 7 and 9) our relationship has steadily deteriorated. I have done my fair share of damage to it as well and would be willing to talk about this, but what I find very difficult about dh is his critical, negative, sarcastic and blaming nature. He also has a short temper. It is scary to talk to him in the sense that I know I will come away from the "conversation" feeling worse about myself and upset, so I shy away from bringing up sensitive issues. He has had two major episodes of not talking to me following big arguments in the last 4 years (one was about 8 weeks long, the other about 5 or 6 weeks) and both times I managed to get him out of this behaviour (after putting up with it for ages in the hope that ignoring it would make it go away!!!). I think that he is not talking to me at the moment as our normal pattern is that we are quite civil during the week, but he becomes very negative, sarcastic etc.... at the weekends complaining about everything that I should be doing, haven't done etc... to the point that I withdraw and simply wait for Monday when my life can resume. However, he appears not to be talking to me much during the week at the moment either (following an argument about 2 or 3 weeks ago) but I have to say that this time I don't feel the same angst as the last two times, just a general sense of WTF??? and hopelessness (also I had what has turned out to be an I think/hope unfounded health scare during this time so I couldn't really be bothered to analyse why he might not be talking blah blah it all becomes so boring).

Anyway I am going on and on... I think he might well be depressed as certainly he has a difficult work life and has to deal with debt. I think there are a lot of improvements I could make to our life as well as him but what makes me baulk at the prospect is how domineering/bossy he can be (though also has a nice affectionate side which the kids mainly see) - just not sure if I want to be part of this set up anymore.

It is reassuring to know I need to understand why I am burying my head in the sand in your opinion CactusRash because I had been doing just that - stressing myself out thinking I am generally crap because I cannot get up the courage to talk to him.

YummyHoney, do you then think that my dh must not love me (and I won't be at all upset if you say yes).

YummyHoney Wed 12-Oct-11 22:03:30

NO, I don't think that at all! Honestly, I have no idea why your H is behaving like that. I can only speak for myself. Also, the truth is I DO love my H, but I'm not all singing and dancing about it.

Yes, I do love him, but i don't feel the need to have that emotional "connection" with him - I don't know what I mean grin !!!!!!!

livingonthedge Wed 12-Oct-11 22:21:33

curious2 - doeshas your dh try(ed) to control you at all (eg what you wear, where you go etc) and does anything make him angry apart from talking to you about the relationship?
I am in exactly the same situation - esp re the arguing/shouting/inablity to bring anything up - and have realised that the cause, in my case, is that oh is effectively using this tactic (I suspect subconsiously) as a way to aviod talking about it. In my case, once I started to think about it, it seemed obvious as he had previously acted in the same manner (ie got "irrationally angry" when I'd dressed inapproptiately or talked too loudly in public or something). oh blames me for everything and I have realised that this is because he is emotionally v immature and sees me (as a woman) as a sort of mother-figure who he feels should cater for his every need. As I don't he feels cheated - as I have broken the tacit agreement (which only exists in his head) etc) that I will nurture as he provides.

CailinDana Wed 12-Oct-11 22:32:24

Curious, going on your second post I would say that yes, your DH might be depressed but that is no excuse for how he is behaving. He is treating you appallingly IMO. You must be so stressed out from the criticism but far worse is the not talking, that is mental torture in my book. I can't even put up with the silent treatment for a day never mind weeks on end! My DH can be a bit silent at times but never for more than a few hours and he always apologises afterwards as he realises that it stresses me out. It doesn't sound like your DH cares much at all about your feelings sad

Living, can I say your post is beautifully written.

curious2 Wed 12-Oct-11 22:34:44

hi livingonthedge - no he doesn't control where I go, what I wear etc.... but I think that he too expects me, as you say, to cater for his every need. His mother cooks very well and is very neat and tidy and I think she is his benchmark. His Dad was an alcoholic and eventually left the family home. His mother must just have carried on doing everything she had to do even though her emotional life must have been difficult. In this way he probably thinks that he has to contribute nothing to my emotional welfare, but I still should carry on performing my motherly/wifely duties. So he would like a cup of tea made for him when he comes in from work but couldn't give a toss that for years I have wanted a cuddle or a kind word.
Yes he does get angry about other stuff too. He is generally quite a quick to be angry person.
What do you plan to do livingonthedge - are you going to stay with your dh?

AlmostGivenUp Wed 12-Oct-11 22:35:55

YummyHoney - I thought as much. Have tried to convince myself otherwise, but I guess that's where she is. I'm still relatively young so may as well move on. Just can't face th eprospect of not seeing mu children everyday.

curious2 Wed 12-Oct-11 22:37:00

Sorry missed your post cailin - yes I also wonder how much dh cares about me!!!

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