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Parentified Husband

(34 Posts)
BrookSoso Mon 03-Aug-15 10:23:21

Yesterday, I got pissed at my husband because he told his mom something I specifically told him not to tell anyone.

I asked him, why did he tell? He said, if his mom asks him anything, he finds it hard not to answer.

I didn't talk to him for a few hours and then when I did, he told me something he's been keeping to himself for a long time. He thinks it's also the reason why he has a problem with sex (lacks desire).

He said he's been researching, and he fits all the symptoms of a parentified child. I've always known they were close, and sometimes I feel they are too close, but I didn't want to say anything because I might be deemed malicious.
One time, he told me that his mom told him details about his parents' sex life (mom and dad had problems in the bedroom as well) and I thought, well, that was inappropriate.

Apparently he grew up with her mom depending on him for emotional support. Even when he was a child she would tell him about her problems with other people, mostly with the dad.

I always tell him that their (his and siblings') apathy towards their dad is not proportional to the bad things the dad supposedly did. When I asked him what bad things he did to them I was expecting that they were physically abused, etc (I was a battered child) but apparently the dad was emotionally distant, sarcastic and not generous with praises. However their disgust for him seemed too over the top - and I have long suspected it's because the mom made them be that way towards him.

Anyway he said his mom would sleep beside him even well into adulthood, would be hugging him like a child and he thought that was normal. I thought the mom was just being protective of him because he was diagnosed to have bipolar disorder more than a decade ago (he's been in remission since) but now I can see that it was more of parentification than anything else.

He also said he thinks his problem with sex stems from this. I am admittedly bothered that he lacks sex drive and I feel unwanted but I am kind of used to this already after so many years. I asked him if he thinks he is gay, and he said he does not feel any sexual desire for men but he does not feel very masculine/macho either.

I've been in a daze since that conversation. I don't know what to do. I love my husband very much but should I let him go? I mean he says he's not gay but he does not seem sexually attracted to me either. Lack of sex aside, he's a very gentle, very kind man and he cares for me deeply and treats me really well.

At this point, we are more like best friends and roommates than husband and wife because of the lack of sex.

pocketsaviour Mon 03-Aug-15 11:03:31

Does your H want to examine these deep-seated traumas to his child-self and try to move forward? Or is he happy to just trundle along as he is?

If it's the latter, I would have to leave. I couldn't be with someone who didn't want sex.

FredaMayor Mon 03-Aug-15 12:02:53

I wonder if your DH may be infantilised as well. If he feels little sexual desire towards anyone, male or female, it may be that he has yet to grow into the role of a mature man, regardless of his physical age. It seems that his FIL was not respected as a role model for whatever reason, and you don't mention children, has your DH ever been a father himself?

BrookSoso Mon 03-Aug-15 12:13:43

No kids. I was his first and only girlfriend. We met when he was 28. He's 41 now.

Joysmum Mon 03-Aug-15 12:26:36

Should you let him go confused

He's clearly self aware and looking to try and work through his issues. It looks like he's building up to seeking help and yet before he even gets to that stage you're considering whether it's time to let him go sad

BrookSoso Mon 03-Aug-15 12:41:49

Of course I don't want to let him go. He's the love of my life. We've been together for almost 13 years now. So long I can't even remember how life was without him.

But should I let him go so he can figure out what he wants? Maybe he's just not attracted to me?

I don't know.

cailindana Mon 03-Aug-15 17:54:38

If a girlfriend confided that her dad used to tell her the details of his sex life and get into bed with her, even when she was a teenager, what would you think?

BrookSoso Mon 03-Aug-15 22:12:51

cailindana - he did say that he finally realised he was sexualised by his mom after reading about parentification.

I talked to him last night - he said he's definitely not gay, no sexual desires for men.

muggedOnEbay Mon 03-Aug-15 22:21:26

Could there be a chance that he feels like he is betraying his mom by being intimate with someone else or even being emotionally close? Does your husband have any other close relationships in his life?

BrookSoso Mon 03-Aug-15 22:53:43

muggedOnEbay - yeah, that could be possible. No, he has no other close relationships but me and his mom. He has friends, but not that close I think.

pocketsaviour Mon 03-Aug-15 23:04:00

This link on covert incest might provide some extra reading.

This book might also help him: Emotional Incest Syndrome: What to Do When a Parent's Love Rules Your Life (haven't read it myself but the parts available through the Look Inside jobby look very good.)

DorisDazzler Tue 04-Aug-15 01:33:29

I'm sorry to say I would suspect that some physical sexual abuse has occurred. It's more common than people think. It's not normal to sleep with your son or to tell him about your sex life. I agree with pocketsaviour about emotional incest and it also sounds like fil has been a victim of PAS parental alienations syndrome ://

Both emotional incest and Pas are inflicted by the disordered, often they are narcissists.

cailindana Tue 04-Aug-15 08:26:37

I find it strange that you know your DH has been sexually abused and all you're concerned about is whether he's gay or not. Sexual problems are very common for abuse survivors. He needs help, not questions about his sexuality.

BrookSoso Tue 04-Aug-15 09:19:24

cailindana - I don't know if he was sexually abused. He said he was parentified. Maybe "sexualised".

I'm saying he's not sexually attracted to me.

BrookSoso Tue 04-Aug-15 09:20:34

And yes, I am bothered by the lack of sex. He's the only person I've been with my whole life.

BrookSoso Tue 04-Aug-15 09:27:30

Thank you pocketsaviour. I think the parentification and the parental alienation go hand in hand in their case. To be honest I can't say anything bad about the dad. He's not as gracious and as sweet as my MIL, but he's pleasant and he just basically lets us be.

SelfLoathing Tue 04-Aug-15 09:43:22

Anyway he said his mom would sleep beside him even well into adulthood, would be hugging him like a child and he thought that was normal

The above makes me wonder whether he was sexually abused as well. There has got to be a high risk of it. Think about how weird and unnatural it would feel for you to SLEEP like that as an adult with your father.

BrookSoso Tue 04-Aug-15 09:48:25

SelfLoathing - he didn't tell me there was actual/overt physical sexual abuse. But yes, I get that it's weird.

Joysmum Tue 04-Aug-15 10:05:49

Have you suggested he goes and seeks professional help?

I know it sounds daft but when I needed help I felt like I was being unfaithful to my DH if I did because we should have been able to handle it. Also needing help meant it was actually real and I didn't want it to be but the time for self denial was over. Given your DH has been researching, his self denial is over too which make him extremely vulnerable as the coping mechanism of pretending isn't there for him anymore and he needs to develop other strategies.

When my DH said that he thought I needed to find professional help it was such a relief in itself, even before I saw anyone.

BrookSoso Tue 04-Aug-15 10:12:43

Joysmum - he's going to schedule a consult with a psychiatrist.

I am just glad we are far away now. I was actually finding it weird that when we moved, it was me who constantly reminded him to call his mom, greet his mom, etc. knowing fully well that he was a "mama's boy." Maybe he was trying to put an end to the interdependence.

BrookSoso Tue 04-Aug-15 10:13:24

JoysMum - I'm glad your DH said that and I hope you are better now. smile

Joysmum Tue 04-Aug-15 17:22:53

Getting there BrookSoso, thank you for asking smile

It's not an easy ride but I'm lucky that my DH thinks I'm worth it.

Take care of yourselves and I sincerely hope you find your way. Remember, he's dealing with a lot so please don't automatically assume his behaviour a reflect his feelings about you. I can't begin to tell you how much I love my DH but my sex drive wasn't there either. That was because of my past and not my present. If I'd not wanted to acknowledge or change I'd not have expect DH to have any hope. Hope is everything and your path is just starting. flowers

BrookSoso Tue 04-Aug-15 23:22:40

Thanks, Joysmum. smile

Atenco Wed 05-Aug-15 03:42:14

Gosh, I am no psychologist, but I've always imagined that a young man who has to sleep beside his mother (happens too often here in Mexico) would have to repress any sexual attraction so much that it would cause them sexual problems later on.

BitOfFun Wed 05-Aug-15 04:06:07

This is so far outside my ordinary understanding that I have to either think it's inflammatory drama for the internet, or an issue that really requires some professional therapeutic involvement.

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