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Things are textbook "getting better" - why aren't I happy?

(14 Posts)
Kixicle Sun 11-Nov-12 14:11:59

After a long period where the problems in our relationship were getting worse and never being spoken about, DH and I finally had a big blow-up. For about half an hour we were basically going to separate, but DH promised to try and sort his health out so we agreed to a six month timetable to improve by.

The next day he told me that he didn't like the idea of the six month thing, because it implied a deadline, and that if there was a deadline we would leave all the "change for the better" part to the end. His argument was that he wanted things to get better now. I don't think he really gets my side, but we agreed that he wouldn't think about the 6 months, but I could "if I wanted"

Since the argument, DH has changed. Which is good, I know it is. He's more affectionate, makes an effort to not lose his temper with the DC, and just...things have felt more relaxed all around.

And yet I can't stop thinking that something is wrong. It's like this feeling in my gut, churning. Everything DH does, I see the negative. He's being very affectionate - it comes across to me as clingy. He's worrying all the time that I'm going to leave him (our argument wasn't just initiated by me, he threw his ring across the floor again and I just said I had had enough too), I see paranoia instead of fear. He wants to have sex more often after a fairly long dry spell, I envision a lot of him getting tired and asking me to finish off.

I just feel so dishonest. There he is, being really clingy and desperate to make this work, and just...I find myself mentally pulling back, cynically waiting for the new honeymoon period to end, even when I have no evidence to suggest it will. On my old thread, someone mentioned that he sounded EA, and a friend I talk to online said something similar, and now I just can't get that out of my head, even though I never really agreed with that assessment of him. (He has depression, and I am disabled, so some of the more "controlling" aspects are justified since he really does need to know where I am because I could be in danger.) I just find myself waiting for the script to roll out.

And part of me feels that I've made a real effort to do more around the house (which I really wasn't doing before) and he's just being clingy and puppyish and pestering me with affection all the time. He hasn't mentioned seeing the doctors about his depression, and backed down from a "I will do this" to "You'll have to make me do this and I make no guarantees".

Have I been reading too many thread on here and clouded my judgement, or is this really a valid way to feel? I just...I find myself getting more and more detatched from DP the more he desperately seeks reassurance I still love him. I don't want things to just end, but at the same time, a small part of me worries I am just falling out of love with him.

Kixicle Sun 11-Nov-12 14:13:22

Oh, if anyone wants a textwall of background, here's my other thread:

Anniegetyourgun Sun 11-Nov-12 14:45:23

A word of warning here, I recognise elements of my own experience with XH and may be projecting to a certain extent. Some random thoughts below.

Your previous thread (sorry, I missed it last time round) was only a week ago. I assume the blow-up came just before or after that. It isn't very long at all for someone to change radically and I don't blame you at all for not being confident that it will be sustained. You may feel that the sudden onset of extra affection is a bit insincere. Maybe he's panicking that you have reached the end of your tether, rather than having seen the light. Maybe he is sincere and this is the start of an ongoing improvement in your relationship (making allowances for the odd relapse), but only time will tell. It depends how much time you are willing to give it. Six months sounds pretty reasonable to me, but he's already pulling back from that... Remember, you have a choice too, and if you feel six months is reasonable, he doesn't necessarily have to agree. It's your ultimatum, after all!

You say you have a row and then he is nice again for a while. Have you come across the Cycle of Abuse ? The article mentions violence but it doesn't have to be about hitting. Even a cycle of increasing snippy comments would qualify, though harder to put your finger on. The point is that he could be nicer all the time if he wanted, but is only nicer when you snap back. Then comes the hoovering. See, it's all documented behaviours; he's not doing anything all that unique. (Spooky?)

If you didn't have health issues that kept you dependent on him, would you feel differently? Because frankly, I think you'd be a lot less stressed if your carer didn't have such a massive bundle of issues himself. I can't help feeling that you are at least as much his carer as he is yours.

I also wonder whether he really can't help the anxiety etc or whether he is putting at least part of it on to keep you from living any kind of independent life. Once you gave up your contacts via computer, you'd have nothing to do but stare at the four walls in between minding the DCs and tidying the house. Your H will be the sole source of adult company, your reference point, your universe. That may sound awfully romantic to some, but it gives me the shivers.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 11-Nov-12 15:00:47

Do you actually want things to be better? Or did you genuinely mean it when the argument got to the separation part? He's overcompensating now, probably because he's scared you were serious... but this affectionate version is not what you want. The grumpy, depressed man snapping at you for doing nothing all day and preferring to talk to Skype friends that you described in your other thread isn't what you want.

I've not read it in particular detail but if he's not what you want when he's being conciliatory and you don't get along with each other the rest of the time, I'm not really seeing much 'love' in the picture from either of you. I'm not seeing 'controlling' either FWIW... just two people who seem highly dependent on each other, are together far too much and manage to rub each other up the wrong way all the time rather than cooperate. A compatibility problem that it sounds like was there from Day 1.

amillionyears Sun 11-Nov-12 20:41:01

I think you could do with going away for a few days without him, if you can.
Surely he wouldnt shout at the children too much? Sounds like you 2 are a bit much in each others pockets.

He has changed for the better. That is good.
But because things have been bad previously for a while, you are still waiting for it to revert back.
Be glad that it is better. The break apart from each other will help you get some perspective. Dont make him think the break is permanent, just that you need to see things clearer than you are doing at the moment.

Kixicle Thu 15-Nov-12 21:32:43

Still here, still swinging between wanting to leave and wanting to stay.

I'm not very good at keeping records, so that didn't last long, but I feel like I don't need to do that anyway. At the moment he is coming down with one illness after the next - at the moment it is an ear infection which antibiotics are not helping with. Part of me feels as though I can't ask or look for change while he is ill - that I'm being horribly unfair to judge how he is and not wait for him to get better, but it's so hard to keep a lid on how I feel! Not to mention, his always having something wrong is one of the problems.

I've been noticing the "red flags" a lot more in recent days too. Things I used to excuse, after reading too many threads here about men far worse than my DH, I see them in him. He never wants to be involved with my family (but if I am round at his, I have to be involved), he snaps at me for really petty things (today it was that I didn't choose a sandwich filling, and saying "I don't mind" was disrespectful and evidence that I wasn't listening - later he spontaneously apologised for shouting, but I had been disrespectful...) He also shouts at the DC too much (although was playing on the Wii with them yesterday, and being a better parent about it than I was).

I just... I don't think he's a bad man, just one with a lot of issues and baggage which he is seemingly unwilling to sort out. He has said about wanting to sort his health out this time, but now he has this ear infection and is convinced he's going to be deaf in one ear, he's really down about it, unable to do anything, etc. I know he's not well, and constant pain is awful, but I've been ill too, and today I've gotten on with things despite a lot of pain from around my shoulderblade (think I slept funny).

When I am ill, he gets annoyed (but not at me, at "the situation"). I know I'm ranting and moaning now, but honestly, I feel as though... I don't know that I love him any more. But equally, I don't know how much of that is me just being wound up. But then again, ever since our big row and vows to change, he's been ill and doing less than ever, because whenever he is ill he gets depressed as well.

I haven't been able to have more than a few hours away from him - I'm reluctant to say I want space, because I worry that he'll just get even more clingy. He seems to think that we can just go back to how things were before - he mentioned today about an idea for what we could do for our fifth anniversary - we only had our first a few weeks ago!

He swings between being really clingy still about me not leaving him, and then blasé and moaning or shouting at me and the DC for every little thing. He seems to be markedly better when the DC aren't around - this evening has been really good, and I've felt a complete wave of guilt again that I'm doing this to him and to me, and indirectly to the DC, because all the while I'm not 100% committed to fixing things, I know they won't improve. I just can't find the enthusiasm to put behind it. I'm waiting to find that he's done something dreadful so I have my easy way out, and that makes me feel more guilty and wretched than ever.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 16-Nov-12 09:23:29

"reluctant to say I want space, because I worry that he'll just get even more clingy"

Surely this is what you both need? Time apart as well as time together. Even best friends with the very best relationship are going to snap at each other when everyone's ill, closeted together 24/7 & feeling suffocated. It's no way to run a household.

You have to be honest with him. If the relationship is under strain because you're trying to live in each other's pockets... tell him. If the relationship is over.... tell him rather than stringing him along with vain hopes.

amillionyears Fri 16-Nov-12 09:41:21

Forget about him being clingy if you are not around. He isnt 5 years old any more.

I can see that it is a big problem that he is constantly ill, for him and for you.
Personally, when I am in pain,I cant cope with much at all, apart from the pain.
Really, he seems to be in a bit of a mess, physically, emotionally and mentally.

Whena person has a lot of problems,I always think it is best to try and find the root cause.
What do you think his personal root cause is?
Did he have an unhappy childhood, has he always been of a nervous dispostion, has he always been fearful even when a young boy, or other things?

fwiw, I do think it is possible on MN or anywhere else for that matter, to read things and think they may apply to your own situation.
Soemtimes they might, but sometimes they wont.
To me, it is like reading a medical book, and self diagnosing. Sometimes a person can then go to the doctors, and find they have diagnosed themselves incorrectly.

It doesnt look like his problems are going to be sorted out any time soon.
My feelings on this are that some of his mental health and physical health problems stem from things that have happened before, perhaps in childhood.

amillionyears Fri 16-Nov-12 09:44:55

Other thoughts.
Does he eat well, or does he eat a lot of rubbish food.
Does he want to be well mentally and physically?

Kixicle Fri 16-Nov-12 10:34:36

There are a lot of childhood issues. They came out a year and a bit after we got together (so, after DS had been born) and they surface regularly in the form of tension with his parents, a refusal to tell them what is happening, and his problem with getting help (in that he won't). I still don't think he's told me everything.

He lied to therapists as a child to get out of the system - he told them what they wanted to hear so he could get back to normal. He's admitted that (he's almost proud of it), so every time he talks about getting help, that's in my mind.

As for having space - I'd love to! Unfortunately, my family either work long hours or are 300 miles away, and, as I say, he won't bring things up with his parents. I don't know how to have space given that neither of us have somewhere to go. He shouts at the DC for little things just enough that I don't want to leave them for a couple of days, but equally, he won't leave me alone with them because of my health issues.

I spoke to my DM last night about it all, which has helped. He always badmouths her, and while I've never had a fantastic relationship with her, I do love her still. He doesn't want her in the house. She can be problematic, but she's given me a lot of moral support, and suggested things like keeping a diary of how I feel.

This morning, as I was taking DS to school, I stopped and nattered with the other mums for a bit. Sure enough, after a few minutes I get a phone call asking where I am, all casual and the like. When I got home he admitted that he was really worried I had had a seizure, and needed a hug. It's stuff like this - no one else worries this much about me. Not even my family, and they know my health in and out just the same. Plus, I walk there and back with someone every day. It's this clinginess, all in the name of his concern for my welfare, that's starting to feel suffocating. Even if he tells me to go out, when I get back there's the "worried" face, or the sob story about how one or other of the DC were dreadful and he needs a lie down.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 16-Nov-12 10:45:43

You see, I wouldn't have answered the phone and I'd have taken myself off somewhere for an hour or two deliberately to make the point. His behaviour is rather worse than 'clingy'.

ClippedPhoenix Fri 16-Nov-12 10:55:19

Eww OP, I don't have any advice. Just wanted to say that reading about him makes me wince it really does. How bloody awful for you. He manipulates and controls in such an "all round" way doesn't he. I (metaphorically of course) want to slap his face very hard and tell him to fuck right off.

amillionyears Fri 16-Nov-12 11:06:32

Have you got a friend you could stay with, or can you afford a cheap B&B?
Sometimes needs must with this type of thing.

Can I ask, why you dont be more assertive about his "clinginess".
I think, like Cogito, that you need to be a lot more firm.
Quite frankly, a lot of his behaviour is like he is stuck emotionally at about 5 years old.
I would write down a list of things you will not do in the future,mean it, give him the list, and then stick to them.
Such as the, "I will not reply to the phone call unless I need to".
"I will go and see my friends if I want and need to".

I would leave your children with him. I dont think they will come to any harm.
The only problem I can see with that, is, because he is clever and manipulative, that he may engineer a "problem", so that you will feel compelled to rush home. Or when you get back from somewhere, he may have engineered something to have happened on purpose. Not meaning that he would put your children in danger, just pretend danger iyswim.

In short, what I am saying is, you need to be much more assertive in this relationship.
Ignore some of what he says, and what he does.

Jux Mon 19-Nov-12 09:19:43

If he worries about you enough, then you won't think it's worth going anywhere, chatting to anyone and you will be beautifully isolated and completely dependent upon him, which is what he wants. Then he can keep you at home all the time doing the cleaning and the crap he doesn't want to do. He will have a nice little slave.


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