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Dp doesn't talk. I'm really lost.

(24 Posts)
GoldenHares Tue 11-Aug-15 15:52:23

Been with my dp for 22 years. Not married as he didn't want to. We have 2 dc's under 8.

Talking has always been an issue. I talked, he looked beleaguered. We don't argue or discuss anything beyond transactional issues because he shuts down if I try.

He left his job a couple of years ago due to stress. In this time he was vile especially to our eldest. My dc's didn't want to be left alone with him during that time (I didn't leave them with him) and I fell completely out of love with him because of how unfeeling and unapologetic he was about his behaviour towards our dc's.

I think he was depressed. No joy, no love of life. We were all walking on eggshells around him. I asked him if seeking support might help. He said no and that he just had to get on with it.

Since then he's found work he enjoys. It's paid poorly but he still contributes his share towards bills etc. He's less stressed. Better with dc's and trust seems to have been rebuilt with them but I can't move on especially as we can't talk.

I've stopped trying to talk. I can't hear myself speak into a void one more time. I can't sleep with him. No intimacy in any part of our relationship.

I've been to counselling as I'm stuck. I feel that leaving would be damaging to all of us but staying is too. I feel completely out of touch with myself.

I asked him to come to counselling some months ago to see if we can either work things out or work on a healthy separation for the dc's. He didn't dismiss coming but shut the conversation down and I feel unable to bring it up again. I talk and he says nothing. My words go into a vacuum.

I think my esteem is on the floor. Although I Love my work.
I adore my dc's.

I have good friends. When I've talked this through with them I feel that they think I'm very negative about my dp as when they see him he is nice, funny (he is funny), practical and kind. He is all of those things but to those closest he is also very closed off.

But I'm very confused now and wonder if I've projected lots of negative things on to him and expecting more from this relationship than is realistic.

I suppose I don't have anything to compare my relationship to. Is it normal not to talk about the state of each others feelings? Without being able to talk to him for many years I feel so lost in this. It's like a one sided conversation in my head.

I know he wants to have sex with me again. Tries to cuddle me and be affectionate. But I just can't.

I'm scared of opening up this mess by talking about it now because I know he won't discuss he will just bear me talking until I stop. Any decision I make will therefore be unilateral because he won't sort it out with me.

I don't know whether to just accept and appreciate the better parts of our relationship. Settle for this. or acknowledge more honestly how important being able to talk is for me.

Any advice?

Jan45 Tue 11-Aug-15 16:02:40

I don't understand why you hung about when he was basically taking his own issues out on your child, no excuse, no matter what!

He sounds like a dead weight, it's all about him and making him happy, I don't know how you have put up with it for this long, he's no good to you our your kids and is now living off the back off you.

I really think you have tried and you get to a point where you have to give up and move on, it sounds a miserable existence.

We all need to talk, all need to express our feelings, go find someone who is capable, he sounds nothing but hard work and soul destroying.

GoldenHares Tue 11-Aug-15 16:05:15

I think I've just hung on Jan out of fear of breaking up the relationship and because of that I've completely lost all sense of what's ok and what's not.
Thanks for your reply.

Jan45 Tue 11-Aug-15 16:07:26

You don't need him OP, you can live a life without worrying about when he's going to take his next mood out on you or your kids, I hate folk like this who think they can treat the people they purport to love so badly, he only loves himself.

I bet he would get the shock of his life if you left, and I think you should, you'd be a lot happier.

Jan45 Tue 11-Aug-15 16:09:12

Leaving would not be damaging, it would be a massive inconvenience and a practical nightmare probably but I don't see how you would be unhappy.

I think you are damaging your self by staying.

tribpot Tue 11-Aug-15 16:27:31

So I'm assuming he's made no amends for his previous behaviour, or even apologised? I don't see how can you move past that - in fact, I think you haven't moved past it. Okay his mood is better but isn't everyone in the house wondering when he might next decide to be stressed and become unbearable to live with? You'll get no indication of when it's starting to happen since he refuses to talk about it (or anything else).

You're not obliged to live like this. I think you can validly say you didn't leave him when he was at his lowest (even though it sounds as if for your children's sake you probably should have) but now that he's on an even keel you want to separate so you can both live your lives happily.

How has he ever shown you any support? Have you ever had a loved one diagnosed with cancer or anything like that? (Obviously I hope not, but most of us have). Didn't you need to talk about that?

Ladyconstance Tue 11-Aug-15 16:34:43

OP, what happened with your counselling? Before making a life changing decision, bear in mind that the issues in this current marriage somehow need getting to grips with first. Otherwise if you experience similar behaviour from other people in other areas of life in the future, any unresolved issues for you might just return & keep going round in circles. Hence my question about how your counselling went.
I have a husband who is (unlike your experience) well behaved (in private and in public) and very very kind and caring, but he too suffers from depression. Trying to get him to reach out to others for help is nigh on impossible. I've recently had severe MH issues myself, and a long period of psychiatric therapy which, ironically, my DH helped me to get, as he saw I was suffering unbearably. It just didn't work the other way round!
One very striking feature of my therapy was that women patients heavily outnumber men. However, the few men who were being treated were really seriously, dangerously close to the edge, much more so that the women.

oldestmumaintheworld Tue 11-Aug-15 16:39:55

I understand completely how you feel, my husband was like this. He refused to discuss anything and as a result I ended up doing everything, making every decision, paying for everything. I effectively was a single parent with three children rather than the two I'd given birth to.

Eventually things got so bad we divorced. Five years later I can look back and see a number of things very clearly:

1. His parents never talked because his father didn't believe in it so DH thought this was normal. It isn't.
2. Not talking meant that he never had to engage with me and what I wanted. This is also not normal in a healthy relationship.
3. Not talking meant that he could do as he wanted and didn't have to change to accommodate me or our children into his life. This is also not normal.

I would strongly advise you to leave. It's not easy - indeed it's very painful - but staying with your husband will only get worse. He is not going to change so you have to. You have to leave for yourself and for your children.

Not talking is not normal in a relationship. It's avoiding behaviour. It avoids other people and their needs and is essentially selfish.

I wish you strength and good luck.

CharlotteCollins Tue 11-Aug-15 16:48:01

What is it about leaving that you are scared of?

queenrollo Tue 11-Aug-15 16:48:43

i spent 14 years with someone like this and I left. Just couldn't do it any more. He finally suggested counselling (after refusing to even to discuss the prospect several times) a few weeks after I called it a day but by then I had no love or respect for him, and simply wanted to move on and find a happier life for myself.

I'm married now to a wonderful man who listens and talks and I can't believe I stayed so long in a relationship with none of this.

GoldenHares Tue 11-Aug-15 16:57:33

tribpot: when my dm was very ill I couldn't seek solace in him. It was more isolating.
I was recently in hospital and when asked who was my next of kin I couldn't answer! It didn't occur to me to put him. And when I did I felt vulnerable. This made me feel so alone.
He's not a bully but so closed off. Passive.
Thank you for your reply. I am listening.

Lady: my counselling was hugely helpful for grounding me. I was able to identify that I have been able to do a lot of hiding in this relationship because no taking has happened I have laid low perhaps because of my string feeling of not being worth a great deal.
I have a good career, great friends and am sociable but perhaps lack confidence about my real worth.
I'll continue to work on this.
I went specifically to identify whether I felt able to continue and work on this relationship but I know I can't unless my dp meets me half way.
Thank you Lady, wise words about identifying, reconginising and working on issues that are likely to reemerge in other aspects of my own life.
It's heartening to hear you have been helped by your DH and by counselling.

Oldestmum: your post hits the nail on the head for me. I have let myself feel controlled and without voice. It's a powerful tool to not engage and I need to find the words to tell him rather than to hope to discuss it with him. Thank you.

GoldenHares Tue 11-Aug-15 16:59:16

Queen: I'm pleased you are happier! When did the point come that made you decide to go?
How did you do it?

GoldenHares Tue 11-Aug-15 17:12:46

Charlotte: I'm scared of causing my dc's pain. The youngest in particular idolises him.
That's the main thing I think. Addressing the elephant in the room and the inevitable fall out that will begin the process of separating.
My parents divorced when I was young. My mum struggled financially. I will struggle but own my own home and can take on extra work.
It's the unknown I suppose. I've stayed still for so long and not listened to my gut. Not trusted how I feel so now it feels even more terrifying.

CharlotteCollins Tue 11-Aug-15 17:49:40

OK, well let's look at those one at a time.

Your DCs: they are learning dangerous lessons from watching their parents, so the current situation is not ideal for them either. It is possible to manage a marriage breakdown so that the DCs are supported. The key thing is that you don't talk each other down to the DCs and that they know that you both still love them and always will. You can explain that the marriage hasn't worked while still saying he is a great dad, you know they love him and they will still see him regularly.

Finances: the more you plan, the less you have to fear. Work out a budget as soon as you have the facts you need.

Stepping out into the unknown: this is scary! But the only way to deal with the fear is to practise. And the further you go, the easier it will be. After a while, it'll be quite exhilarating knowing you can do things for yourself and you will be OK.

Jan45 Tue 11-Aug-15 17:55:36

Your children will be fine, they must have plenty friends parents separated or in a one parent family, it's no biggie anymore.

Yes you will be worse off financially but at least you will be master of all you achieve, whether it's paying a bill or buying a pair of earrings for yourself.

Seriously, it's scary, of course it is, but entirely possible, you just need to have the drive to actually get up and do it, I know I would have to, I couldn't live that life.

Plenty couples separate and co parent now.

You might have a few months of upset and stress but a lifetime of being able to be yourself again.

Jan45 Tue 11-Aug-15 17:58:38

It takes two to make a relationship work, the amount of threads on here from women who are battling on in relationships where the man has little or no interest in making any attempt to shoulder responsibility or show love for that person to try and make things better is astounding, and quite frankly, depressing.

It's meant to be a two way partnership, a team, someone who has your back always, if you don't have that then you are settling for much less than you deserve.

queenrollo Tue 11-Aug-15 18:07:21

Someone very close to me died and he couldn't support me the way I needed. I needed to talk about it....
That was shortly after the birth of our child. The two years following that there were lots of events or issues and they needed talking out, but he just didn't. He wouldn't meet me halfway!
I got more and more depressed and eventually it dawned on me it was not PND but the relationship. I spent the last three months really soul searching.
Requests for us to go to counselling were rebuffed. On the surface we were a great couple, and he was liked by all our friends - does this sound familiar? He turned on a different persona when out and about.

I just had it. I was a rubbish mum because I was so unhappy. I didn't want my child to grow up with that as an example of a relationship. I wanted to be happy. I wanted the chance to meet someone who would make me happy and feel valued and loved. (and that happened sooner than I thought....i was settled in myself to just being single)

I just told him it was over. Due to circumstances it was me that moved out. It was hard in so many ways, but I never ever doubted that it was the right decision.

Ladyconstance Tue 11-Aug-15 19:03:16

Golden, I can totally relate to those inner feelings of not being worthy, despite outwardly seeming to have 'everything'. I realise you have DC too but when it comes to your marriage, I think you can now afford to be selfish and look at what you need and want, and only you. Your DC would want their mum to be happy and brave rather than feeling trapped. You've done the counselling and it sounds like you're mentally done with this relationship. Take a breath and go into the next step. You will be ok. It will be ok. Just one step at a time.

GoldenHares Tue 11-Aug-15 19:22:15

Thank you Jan.

Thanks too queen.

Really needed a reality check.

GoldenHares Tue 11-Aug-15 19:26:42

Lady, yes. Thank you.
I am mentally done with it.
The other day he held me and I wanted to cry so hard because to give in to that cuddle means giving up so much more iykwim?
Thank you.

queenrollo Tue 11-Aug-15 20:49:01

I can't really explain it, but it was just at 4am one morning - I knew. I just had this sudden moment where I knew that was the day I had to say it out loud to him.
I was ready.

I think you will too.

I tried so hard to make the relationship work, to not throw away 14 years of my life and for my son to not have separated parents. And i realised I already had thrown away too much of my life.

GoldenHares Tue 11-Aug-15 21:24:52

summoning up my strength queen.

Offred Tue 11-Aug-15 21:31:15


I was married to a man like this. You don't have a relationship if you aren't relating to each other. The pressure of making decisions for the other adult will eventually utterly break you. Making decisions just for you will not be so bad.

Like PP I just snapped one day and it came out.

CalmYourselfTubbs Tue 11-Aug-15 21:34:12

no-one is worth this arseache.

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