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I don't know how to get my marriage back on track(22 Posts)
Everyone i know thinks i am really lucky to have a dh like mine. He is very kind, helps with the dc, if any job needs doing he does it straight away, and many more good qualities. I love him very much, but there are things lacking in our marriage.
When we met, he was lots of fun. We were always out having a good time. He made me feel extremely loved and was constantly doing things to show me how much he loved me.
11 years and 2 dc later I actually don't feel loved at all. He shows me very little attention. He is always in a hurry - doing a job around the house, etc. As soon as he finishes a meal he gets up to get on with something and seems to find it hard to just sit and relax with me.
When the dc were at my MIL last weekend we went out for lunch and he just ended up with a far away expression in his eyes which made me feel he'd rather be somewhere else.
We rarely have fun times, he never compliments me or barely looks at me. We do have frequent sex and i am sure he is not having an affair.
I know things change when dc come along, and we are short of spare cash, but i just want a bit of what we used to have.
You need an honest talk. You need to explain how you feel and see what he says. It could be that he feels the need to be busy and productive in order to be a good husband and father and doesn't realise you're feeling neglected. It could be that he's finding the relationship difficult and is keeing busy to avoid dealing with it. You'll only know if you're honest with each other. Pick a quiet moment and see how it goes.
Thanks for the reply. I have sort of tried to bring it up, but dh says there is nothing wrong and says it is annoying i think there is. If something needs doing i often don't tell him because he becomes so consumed with getting it done he forgets everything else.
Oh dear. Difficult when you think there is a problem and the other person doesn't see it. The silent lunch sounds just awful. Do you do anything together by way of hobbies? Have anything in common beside children and wedding bands? Was he fun-loving when you first met because you didn't have responsibilities? What is/was his own father like as a role-model... hands-on life and soul or a bit dour and distant?
He may think there nothing wrong for him but there is for you so you need to find a way to make him "listen". A sterner request to talk may be in order here. Don't let him brush you off.
The most important lesson I learned when my marriage broke down is that if one person in the relationship thinks that there is a problem - THERE IS A PROBLEM. I was in the same position as you, I got more and more unhappy but DH would never accept there was a problem until I stopped trying to talk about it. Eventually he got so unhappy living with someone who was unhappy that he became unhappy too and being the kind who did not talk about problems he had an affair and that was that.
You have to make him talk to you. You have to have the courage of your convictions to believe that if you have a problem then your relationship has a problem.
He can't say there's nothing wrong. There is something wrong, you're feeling neglected. You need to approach him so that he can't dismiss your feelings. Tell him that you need to have a serious talk, sit him down and just explain how you feel. Don't accuse him of anything, or ask how he feels, just stick to how you feel - eg "When you get up straight after dinner and don't chat to me I feel lonely," "When we were at lunch last weekend and we hardly talked it really upset me, I feel like we don't really have fun any more." Don't let him tell you you're wrong, you're not wrong because that is how you feel and no one can tell you you feel otherwise.
How is your sex life? You say you have regular sex, but is it good?
I think the fun loving bit was a lot to do with no responsibilities. My MIL is a complete stress case who worries about absolutely everything before it has even happened. FIL is unfortunately dead after a long illness which i am sure must have affected dh as it was all of his childhood. Apparently he was a very strict, moody man who spent alot of time in his shed doing jobs. AHHHHHH, do you think dh is turning into them? He is definately a worrier and can't help himself from working out how to solve a problem before the problem has even arisen. At that lunch he was thinking about what time ferry we would need for our trip to France in August as traffic may be affected by the Olympics!
Do you think he's depressed, or anxious perhaps?
I think he suffers with anxiety. He went to GP a few years ago and was referred for CBT. However, he stopped going after 1 session as he didn't think it was helpful. He did get loads better after that episode and was more relaxed for quite a while. I think his whole life has been quite stressful and he could never relax at home as a child. I know he is cabable of being a more chilled out person as he has been in the past.
Hope this doesn't sound harsh but your early relationship seemed to be all about meeting your needs.
Did you put as much effort into the relationship as he did - or did you just take it all for granted? Easy to do - especially as meeting your needs seemd to be what made him happy.
Sounds like he's feeling neglected himself and perhaps grieving for his DF? How recently did he pass away?
I think you need to have a chat with him. And don't let him fob you off.
I think all the above suggestions are good. But if he still won't listen, I think you should start concentrating on yourself more and having a good time without him. Go out more often with your friends or just on your own. Plan a day or evening out once a week or so. Don't ask permission, just say 'I'm going to...on Saturday, so you need to be available to look after the kids' or find a sitter if poss.
Dress like you used to when you were single. Get a new hairstyle. Stop waiting for him to turn into Mr Romantic. Possibly he may then start noticing that you're having more fun without him and hopefully rise to the bait.
Thanks for all the great replies. It has really helped me to think about things. I think there is definately neglect on both sides, i possibly don't think about meeting his needs and don't know if i even know how to I do have a great group of friends and we have a lot of fun together. I want to have that laid back fun with dh. We really have very little spare cash so going out for expensive meals etc is not an option. I need to talk to him but i don't want to make things worse by irritating him.
Firstly, it may be worth bearing in mind the love languages thing, he seems to be someone who meets his family's needs by doing things, mending things, planning things. This doens't mean he doesn't care, in fact, that's probably why he's really surprised when you say you feel neglected, as from his perspective, he's putting in a lot of effort.
Secondly, I would just plan the type of things you'd like to do, so book a meal out (not with the IL's, of course he was glazed over!) or the cinema and go just the two of you. During these times, give him loads of positive feedback about how you've enjoyed it so he knows what you enjoy, sounds like he's forgotten.
Thirdly, you could talk with him again, but I'd pick your moment with a worrier, perhaps when snuggled up. You don't have to say 'you are not meeting my needs' more 'things have changed now we've had children, I don't think it's all good, what do you think?'
Mumsyblouse thank you so much. i totally can see that dh thinks he is meeting my needs by doing things and planning things. He is unable to communicate with his mum, but spends the whole time fixing things for her and it has probably always been like that.
I do need to talk to him, but you are right that he is a worrier so panics a bit when i raise things so i tend to leave things.
I'm sorry but this is starting to sound like Victoria Wood's 'Ballad of Barry and Freda'... frisky Freda saying 'let's do it' and a horrified Barry replying 'I'm boring, I'm imploring, let me read this catalogue on vinyl flooring....'
Your DH sounds a bit like mine. My DH is a kind, loyal, hard-working man who loves me and his DC and is very good at getting on with jobs / DIY around the house, but on the down side he is a bit of a worrier and isn't very chatty at the best of times. I am a sunny, optimistic person, and I do think I bring a lot of the "fun" element to our relationship. The thing is, I don't mind - he's always been that way and I don't expect him to change. I suppose some people might think of him as boring, but I love him to bits and feel very lucky to be married to such a wonderful man!
A poster above said "the silent lunch sounds just awful" - the thing is, my DH genuinely wouldn't see it that way. He would think we were having a nice chilled out lunch together and wouldn't feel the need to chat away. He would definitely feel upset if I said I hadn't enjoyed our meal because he was too quiet. He's happy to respond to my conversation, but if I decided to stay silent then the two of us would probably have a lot of very quiet meals!
I agree with mumsyblouse that it's helpful to remember that people express love in different ways. My DH and I went on a marriage course a couple of years ago - it turns out his love languages are time together and acts of service, whereas mine are words and cuddles.
Obviously this is just my perspective. If you feel that this IS a problem between you, then it's no good me telling you that I'm happy - you need to try and do something about it. If you talk to him, I would suggest giving him quite specific ideas of how to improve things between you. He doesn't sound like a very imaginative man, so he may respond better to that rather than just being told that you aren't happy - I can imagine this might leave him feeling helpless and upset.
Hows your sex life apart from being frequent. Has he said anything about not having as much fun etc ?
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One of Ester Perel's thoughts struck a chord with me. She pondered about a paradox that people often present the better side of themselves at work, they dress up to go out with friends, almost seem to make an effort for everyone else, but our partner at home, the most significant person in our lives gets the scraps. This does not make any sense.
It is as if we treat our partner as a piece of comfortable furniture we can sit in at any point and it will always receive us in the same way.
It is as if we do not desire what we already have.
Esther Perel suggests a rather thought provoking idea. Treat your partner not like they are yours, but as if they were only on loan to you with an option to renew. In that case, people would adopt a very different attitude to their partner. Certainly food for thought.
It is easy to put yourself and your partner last when you have children, but it will catch up with you. Women tend to be the first to realise they are unfulfilled as a person and as an individual. OP, maybe your DH is happy with everything and does not genuinely see a problem. But you do. And you cannot ignore your feelings forever or brush them off indefinitely. Talk to him honestly, openly. Tell him how you feel. You are YOU first and a mother and a wife next. Time for an 'honesty session', as one MNetter put it.
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