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Please can I have your opinions on my DH(31 Posts)
I have been with DH for 30 years, married for 25. I have been unhappy in my marriage for a number of years now but I don't know if things are bad enough to leave. I have been going to Counselling for the past year and it has helped me greatly e.g. dealt with my depression, alcohol/food issues, working on myself etc. I will list all DH's good points and bad points below ... would you mind taking the time to read and honestly say if you would be happy to continue in a marriage like mine?
The good bits:
Devoted to our children
Would do anything for us
Kind, caring, decent, generous, quiet, sensitive, sensible, honest
Helps out with housework, does all the DIY
Very good to my elderly parents, including the rest of my family
Doesn't go out, drink to access, gamble or look at other women
The not so good bits:
He never tells me he loves me
He never kisses me or holds me, no hugs/cuddles or holding my hand
Doesn't seem to appreciate me
He doesn't know how to treat me well, no nice birthday treats, presents, nights out, weekends away etc.
He never compliments me or tells me I look nice
He never praises my cooking
He withholds affection, love, words of comfort, physical contact
Sex has dwindled to a few times a year (I have to initiate it)
When we do have sex, it is just going through the motions, no passion
He doesn't make me feel bad about myself but he doesn't make me feel particularly good about myself either!
I have lost five stone in the last 18 months and he hasn't even acknowledged it / or said I look good (other men have noticed!).
I don't know what to do. I don't know if I love him anymore and I'm not sure if he loves me either. I'm not desperate to end our marriage and I would feel quite selfish if I did but I don't know how long more I can live in a loveless (and sexless) marriage.
All those things seem to indicate a lack of intimacy.
Have you tried to talk to him? Telling him how you feel?
Things don't have to be bad for you to leave, you just need to be unhappy and unfulfilled with no hope of improvement and that's reason enough.
My mum and dad split because they wernt in love. Best thing they ever did (apart from having me of course!) and they are now best mates and happy apart.
These things are subjective. If you feel that you have satisfied yourself that you have put enough effort in, and you still want to leave, then I think you should leave.
You only live once, why spend any of it in a marriage just because you think someone else might think its OK, if it isn't working for you?
Yes, I've told him many times. I've told him how important sex is to me, to us as a couple, to our marriage. He improves for a while but it always dwindles again. He's just not a demonstrative person. Intimacy is a real effort for him, he doesn't seem comfortable with it.
Would he consider going to couples therapy? Work on why the intimacy and desire for a physical relationship has gone.
My counsellor has suggested couple counselling but I'm reluctant, at the moment. I'm pretty sure I'm not in love with him anymore and I don't know if those feelings could ever be got back (for me).
If you are sure you want to leave, then thats enough. Couples counselling is fine if you need it to make yourself sure, but it sounds like you have tried at this marriage for a very long time already.
This is perhaps going to sound like a cliche, but IMO one of the things which keeps long marriages together (or any marriage for that matter) is the fact that the couple has to work on it and not become complacent.
I imagine that after 30 years it's easy to fall into the trap of not giving compliments or not initiating intimacy, and the longer that happens the more a part of the relationship it becomes.
While I don't think that anyone should stay in an unhappy marriage, equally I don't think that the answer to feeling unhappy is always just to leave. Not before you attempt to work out what has made you unhappy and whether you can/or want to fix it.
The first step to working out where you want to be is to communicate. Talk to your DH and tell him how you feel and what you want from a relationship. After so long I imagine that if he suddenly started being affectionate this would equally catch you off guard. If you've got to the point where these things just no longer happen then you need to communicate with each other about what you actually want.
I do believe it is easy to just fall out of the habit of being affectionate, and the longer you do the harder it is to just go back because it's not a part of the relationship any more iyswim. But that doesn't mean that all has to be lost - just that you need to work together to find it again. Start spending time together, going on dates, out for meals, etc, spend time being together, talking to each other, re-capturing what has brought you together and kept you together for 30 years.
Of course if you really don't love him then you shouldn't feel you have to stay. But better to explore that first rather than leave and regret after it's too late.
The relationship doesn't sound broken after all, just a bit lost. Good luck.
Does anyone think withholding of love, affection (and sex) is a form of emotional abuse or I'm I overthinking it ?
I think it very much depends on the circumstances. Many people just aren't physically demonstrative. Many women post here that they have no inclination towards sex with their husbands and no-one would term them emotionally abusive. I know someone whose partner would complain that they never had sex yet when he initiated it she would hold back and tell him that it wasn't what she wanted after all. he would then stop and she would cry and say that it was obvious he didn't want her, even though she had initially said she wanted sex and then said no at the final hour. Now that IMO is emotionally abusiv. It eventually cost them their marriage.
Yes, exactly wannaBe these things are just not part of our marriage anymore sadly. It would feel odd for him to start doing these things now.
Do you think you'd actually be happier without him? If you think of being on your own for a while without him doing all his 'pro' points would you be happier?
You wouldn't have to be on your own forever of course, you could find another partner and eventually move on if that's what you want but I think it's better to go on the basis of being single than being with someone else iyswim which is why I ask.
What you describe in your OP sounds like a man who just has a different style of communication than the one you would prefer about anything emotional.
Google "languages of love" and see if that makes sense to you. You sound like a person who thinks live is expressed through words and physical touch. He could be a person who expresses love through practical help. Neither is wrong. But if there is a mismatch, you can either decide that your needs are not being met and end it, or try and see if couples counselling could help you mutually understand each other and communicate better, along the lines that the other person needs in order to feel valued.
This does not sound like a hopeless case. Although of course you need no justification for leaving, if tgat is what will suit you best.
I don't think I would be happier without him. He isn't hard to live with, he has an easy going personality, no annoying or bad traits. Everyone thinks we have a good marriage, in fact. But it's hard living without love. It's getting harder as time goes on.
I will look that up Rice, it sounds interesting.
Are you sure that you are "living without love", though? Perhaps you are merely living without a particular way of expressing love, which seems obvious to you but may be understood differently by him.
I think after such a long marriage it would be a shame not to try couples therapy. If you try whole heartedly and there is no improvement on emotional and physical intimacy you can walk away knowing that it was truly over.
Yes Random, I know that makes sense and it would be the right thing to do.
So are you saying you don't want to because in your mind it's already over with no chance of you being able to give him a 2nd chance?
If that is the case then you would be wasting your time and money.
I will consider couple counselling. It would be very unfair of me not to try.
I agree with wannaBe.
Love is not a noun, it's a verb and it needs two people to keep it alive.
You say that he is not demonstrating any affection now. How was he demonstrating his love before? Is he still doing that now but somehow it doesn't feel the same?
How are you showing your affection to him? Are you telling him you love him? What does he say in return?
My experience about not feeling loved like this is it is very easy to fall into a cuircle of 'he is not showing affection, I'm unhappy, I don't show him affection either so he doesn't think it matters'. When I did start 'loving' DH again (as ion the verb and through actions that would look like love to him, not what I might have seen as loving), things changed and he was much more keen on returning the favour iyswim.
I've also learnt that being happy isn't my DH job. It's mine. I can't rely on him to be happy and feeling fulfilled. It has to come from within.
In my case, the not feeling loved also had something to do with me not being happy with myself and needing to sort out other areas of my life.
Re the withdrawing love and abuse.
I've gone through that stage too where all his actions were looked at under the lens of 'abuse' abd tbh some of his behaviours weren't ok.
But when you start looking at things in such a negative way, everything is becoming negative and not nice. Everything is n issue and not quite right. You start questioning everything and see what is a normal thing 'no I'm not keen on sex today' as an awful act designed to make you suffer, regardless of the real intention.
On the other side, your DH can feel something is going on and you aren't happy and think he is unreasonable (even if you don't say so) and the vicious cycle starts.
I agree with RiceCrispie about the 5 languages of love. My dp is undemonstrative and doesn't compliment me. But when I understood that some of the things he did were HIS way of expressing love, I felt more loved, which was good. It also made me less critical of him and we seemed to have more fun and re-found our shared sense of humour.
Even if it doesn't resolve things, and you do end up splitting up, when you look at the list of good things, it got be worth giving it a try? (and I don't mean just putting up with it, but researching everything you can to improve your relationship).
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