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What's this called?

(16 Posts)
Levismum Sun 19-Jul-15 20:57:59

Exdp shows almost no emotion. Never has done really.

When we first got together he was happy. We were both happy but over time I realised he never complained about anything but also he never praised anything.

When the dc came along that's when his inability to care for my emotional needs became a massive problem for me.

The only time I seen him cry was at his mum's funeral.

When our dc were born it was like it wasn't a big deal.
When he was made redundant he was almost blasé.
When our dd became ill he ignored it. When i graduated from Uni he didn't congratulate me.
But he never said bad stuff either so he's never told me to shut up-ever!
He's never ever shouted.
We've never had a proper row

I don't know if this post is making any sense. Has anyone else come across a do like this?

Levismum Sun 19-Jul-15 20:59:21

Dp not do! blush

Levismum Sun 19-Jul-15 21:30:12


PoundingTheStreets Sun 19-Jul-15 21:32:35

Sounds to me like he's disassociated to some extent. What was his childhood like? Society to some extent still discourages male children from showing emotion (big boys don't cry, etc). Couple that with a childhood environment where emotional displays could make you vulnerable to criticism/ridicule/abuse and you can end up with someone who has shut off their emotions.

learntoloveagain Sun 19-Jul-15 21:34:32

In the words of Madonna when she split from Guy Ritchie, emotionally retarded?

missybct Sun 19-Jul-15 21:40:22

Yup. ExDP did cry, but only if he saw me cry and at my tether - it was almost as if he HAD emotion, but kept it so, so deep that it was only abandonment that brought it out. Then it would disappear, and we'd do the same cycle again.

I'm a highly sensitive person, so I picked up on everything, but genuinely I just don't think he had much emotion full stop. Parents were very non talking or sharing, anything less than stoic was considered incredibly undesirable. His mother had a whole host of MH issues because she had no vessel to open up to.

We rowed, and he wasn't a nasty or abusive partner - he was proud when I did something, but it usually required an awful lot of effort to get him anything other than "standard" - he didn't talk about the past, rarely contemplated the future in anything other than practical (money, mortgage, DIY) terms and if you asked him how he felt towards prospect of being a father, or marriage, or anything that required him to commit, he would be pretty, well, non-committal. I knew he loved me, but he loved me to the only capacity he knew, which sadly wasn't enough for me and I ended up feeling hopelessly neglected and worthless (my issue, not his with the benefit of hindsight). I couldn't engage with him on anything important really - we had a lot of fun, and a lot of "in jokes" but we ended up more like friends - the romantic side of things was such an effort to keep up.

Levismum Sun 19-Jul-15 21:44:16

He had a hideous childhood. Neglect coupled with domestic violence & alcoholism.

On the surface he's 'nice guy'. He's become terribly overweight in the last few years but I've rarely ever seen him eat more then me, I'm a size 8.

I wonder if he could or would get help...

Levismum Sun 19-Jul-15 21:47:18

He didn't even show emotions when i criedfrom absolute frustration with him.

He didn't take responsibility for anything other then booking a holiday.

It was soul destroying!

missybct Sun 19-Jul-15 21:51:36

Ultimately, it's up to him - there has to be a level of acceptance on his part that something needs to be addressed before he can even consider working on the potential issues. Some people will bury and bury until no amount of coaxing will help, and some pick it up quickly.

Certainly his childhood experiences would have some kind of affect on him into adulthood, but without knowing what and when and why, it's far too vague and open to interpretation. Some people find regression of how they felt as children very traumatic and unhelpful, whilst some will find the answers they need - usually through prior acceptance.

Only thing I can suggest really is casually mentioning it, depending on the level of contact and friendliness you have together. Generally speaking, if someone has no strong feelings either way about most things, you'll have a harder time suggesting that professional help would help, simply because people associate therapy (et al) with having a sense of instability - something I am guessing your exDP doesn't see as an accurate reflection of himself (but rather the past, unaware of the fact that past would have created issues into his adulthood).

Levismum Sun 19-Jul-15 22:20:31

missybct you've described him perfectly!
He doesn't see it as a problem. There were no problems according to him. He told & tells me he is trying but he has no idea what I NEED from him. Like the fact He will tell you he hoovered more then I did but I never asked, needed or wanted him to hoover. I needed him to do the garden. He never ever finished it...

Lweji Mon 20-Jul-15 07:36:21

Sounds somewhat like my ex, although his apparent niceness and being quiet and subdued was probably due to anxiety.
Possibly because of that he could and did become aggressive and nasty.
But for the most part, I was the crazy emotional one.

He hardly reacted when I got pregnant and was non plussed when I got my degree.

Having said that, it striked me the comment about what you needed him to do. Was there a discussion about which takes each wanted to do and would do?

Levismum Mon 20-Jul-15 08:16:56

There were never conversations. He would /couldnt have a conversation about anything other than day to day stuff.

He'd say ,'I don't know' or 'I'm not bothered',
'I'm trying', were the general responses I got to questions about, marriage, children, buying a house , what to have for dinner or what shall we do regarding our disabled dcsad

Ultimately I realised I had to look after the dc & I. He let me down whenever I needed him. He was incapable of supporting me.

Had we been dealt a kinder hand by life, I wouldn't have needed his support, as I am very strong.

Life was very beige. We did nothing together. Never had a conversation. Had no interests together, friends or hobbies.

He was and still isn't a good dad.

I feel incredibly guilty about the dc.

But I've always wondered if it's more common then I think & there must be other people in a similar situation.

pocketsaviour Mon 20-Jul-15 20:42:34

The technical term for this is blunted affect. Common in PTSD sufferers, which fits with a traumatic childhood.

Levismum Mon 20-Jul-15 22:19:18

Thanks * pocketsaviour* I've come across 'blunted affect' but only very briefly.

Sadly reading that link makes sense.

God knows, I wish I'd known 16 years ago What I know now. I've wasted the best years of my life with this person.

The most important cements reduced to nothing. Such a waste. sad

Levismum Mon 20-Jul-15 22:20:38

Events! Not cements...

Janette123 Tue 21-Jul-15 08:17:15

Oh my goodness Levismum, I got goosebumps when I read your post !! -
it could have been written by me about my exH ! Even down to the one word answers and not doing jobs about the house

My exH was just as you described yours. I saw him as a rational, reasonable well-balanced person, (and that's what attracted me to him in the first instance) but he never argued (used to walk away) and he just couldn't get excited about anything.

I worked so hard to try and make him happy but it was like pouring water down a bottomless pit.

He never wanted to visit his parents (who lived in a different city to us) and I couldn't understand why, and he wouldn't tell me. Once he told me briefly about his mother threatening his father with a hammer when he was about 7, so I now suspect he had an abusive childhood.
His sister seemed quite well-balanced, though.

When I finally put my foot down and told him things had to change his response was to have an affair with a girl at work, and I divorced him.

Now she's his problem. How she puts up with him I don't know but she had an abusive childhood so maybe they are two of a kind.

Pocket saviour - thanks for the link ! smile

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